The popular classifieds website Craigslist may not have a legal liability when it comes to use of its services for sex trafficking and prostitution, but they have a social responsibility to address the issue, Culture and Media Institute Assistant Editor Nathan Burchfiel told CBN's "Newswatch" Sept. 9.
The site recently shut down its "Adult Services" section after 17 state attorneys general sent a letter to the company outlining its role in illegal activities including child prostitution and sex trafficking. The section is no longer available to U.S. users, but Burchfiel pointed out that the change doesn't seem to have had much effect.
"What they've done is blocked off this one section of the site in the United States only, it's still available internationally, and these companies, these businesses that have been advertising essentially prostitution, some of them underage prostitution, illegal sex trafficking, have just moved those ads to different parts of the site," he told anchor Wendy Griffith. "They're still getting up there. They're still really easy to find, frankly."
A Sept. 8 Culture and Media Institute report noted that while Craigslist appears to have addressed the issue, ads for brothels and other "adult services" are still readily available across the site. Dozens of listings appeared in other sections of the Washington, D.C., Craigslist, including numerous ads for business under investigation by local authorities.
When asked if there would be a change from the company, Burchfiel expressed skepticism.
"Given their history, the way that they've addressed this issue in the past, it's not really likely," he said. "It's unfortunate, because in spite of the fact that they might not have any legal liability on the issue, they really have a social responsibility as a company of the size and influence that Craigslist is to do something about this.
Burchfiel added, "Not only is it an issue where they're helping people commit illegal acts and in often cases making people victims of horrible crimes, but they're doing this on a forum that's really easily accessible to anyone, including kids. It's not a site where you have to register or prove that you're a certain age to get access to. So there's a lot of social responsibility issues that trump the legal issues that aren't really there."