05/04/2010, 13:07

Shutting Down America’s Online Sex Cafe

It’s bad enough to hear about men who pose as animals and force young girls to prostitute themselves in foreign countries. That’s horrible, and should never happen. But sex traffickers right here in the United States under our watch on sites like Craigslist?!

Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere are abuzz with the revelation that 1/3 of Craigslist revenue comes from sex ads.

Many of these ads offer young girls for sex. It strikes me that this is exactly like the sex cafe I visited in Moldova.

While I’m shopping for a used couch on Craigslist, thousands of girls are being trafficked in the cyberspace around me.

So far, the Craigslist leadership appears unwilling to take down the trafficking ads, or to offer a real aggressive enforcement strategy.

Many have taken to boycotting craigslist until they get serious about not allowing the site to serve as a medium for trafficking underage girls. If you’re one of these people, leave a comment and tell me why and what you think the boycott can accomplish.

Having just been in Moldova and Russia, sitting with girls who themselves had experienced the horrors of trafficking, I cannot believe this is happening on a site like Craigslist.

This is happening in the open–on a public site. Many of the ads are plainly pornographic–and they are right there in the open. It’s just like the sex cafe in Moldova!

As the organized protest continues, there are a variety of ways that you can respond and act. Many of you asked what you can do to prevent sex trafficking. I never thought I’d be telling you to boycott Craigslist for facilitating the prostitution and rape of girls in the United States. Here goes…

  • Add a tag to your e-mail signature or a badge to your blog that says “Craigslist allows trafficking of underage girls on their site, will you?”
  • Spread the word to your social networks on Facebook and Twitter. Link to any of the articles on this page, this blog post, or any other resource you find. Most people just are not aware…change that!
  • Boycott companies who use Craigslist to advertise jobs. A big portion of Craigslist’s revenue comes from job postings. Go to Craigslist.org and browse through the job listings by companies in your city–write the poster and let them know about Craigslist’s reputation for allowing trafficking of minors on their site. Send e-mails, write letters, and make phone calls to companies. Remember, they probably have no idea. Work to educate. Ask them to take the ad down and join the fight to clean sex trafficking from Craigslist. Last night, I found a local church in our community with several job ads. Contact the job poster directly, and show them to the open letter and other articles.
  • Call your local media. Send a pitch letter to all of the local radio stations and television stations in your town. This is a national story that is easy for local affiliates to pick up. Pitch them on a local angle to this story–such as how many women are currently advertised as prostitutes in your town.

As you spend time researching this developing story and the ensuing protest, you’ll run into other ideas and solutions. Leave a comment here to let us know what you’re doing to shut down America’s online sex cafe.

Last word  on this….folks, this is a symptom reflecting a larger issue and a deeper reality. Soon the mainstream media will no longer be enamored with the wrongdoings of Craigslist. Keep fighting the good fight–wherever you have the strength and favor to speak prophetically against sex trafficking–do it.

This is an absolute outrage and is happening right under our nose. If someone doesn’t stand up for what is right, who will? Will you stand in the gap and defend a young girl who is being trafficked right here in the US on Craigslist?

CAROL - July 5, 2010

Craiglist posters often are inocent people using a media outlet. I dont believe the problem rest on the shoulders of craiglist and boycottting them is a waste of time. If we clean up craiglist the sex trafficer with just use another venue. We need to put our efforts on the illness itself not just put a bandaid on the opening. Lets find a way to go after the guys that are selling the girls and start at the bottom of the pile of corruption where it will do the most good.