Online marketplace Craigslist has responded to an open letter claiming the site helps promote prostitution.
A paid-for advert in The Washington Post saw two women make an appeal to close the site's adult section, saying it had wrecked their lives. Craigslist responded by asking if the crimes had been reported to the police, adding it was "combating trafficking".
The paid-for advert in The Washington Post featured a letter from a year-old woman calling herself MC. The letter said that Craigslist was now the choice of traffickers because it was "so well known and there are rarely consequences to using it for these illegal acts". The firm's chief executive, Jim Buckmaster, replied by asking if the "perpetrators are behind bars" and if the advocacy groups who placed the adverts could "let us know where the police reports were filed". Connecticut's attorney general Richard Blumenthal - who is heading up a group of 39 US states examining Craigslist's adult services section - called on the section to be closed.
Earlier this year, the US lawmaker subpoenaed Craigslist, and asked whether it "is actually profiting from prostitution that it promised the states and public that it would try to block. Mr Buckmaster said that Craigslist had now implemented manual screening of each adult service ad, adding that it thought that the "events described [in the advert in the Washington Post] may have occurred before manual screening was implemented".
Andrea Powell, head of Fair Fund - a group that works with women who have been sold for sex and one of the groups which paid for the advert in the Washington Post - described Craigslist as "the Wal-Mart of online sex trafficking". They don't talk about other sites. The advert in The Washington Post echoes another letter published earlier this year.
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