Attorney General McKenna announces deal with Craigslist to crack down on illegal sex trade ads

Attorney General Rob McKenna has announced an agreement in which the online classified site, Craigslist, will deter and crack down on inappropriate content and illegal activity in its “erotic services” section.

The agreement among Craigslist, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (MCMEC) and attorneys general for 43 states seeks to address crimes including child pornography, child prostitution and human trafficking.

“Craigslist offers some great benefits to the public, like enabling you to sell or buy used furniture,” said McKenna, a Bellevue resident. “Craigslist is helping crack down on those who try to misuse its site for illegal activities such as child exploitation.”

Under the agreement, Craigslist will require that users who post erotic services ads provide a working phone number and pay a fee with a valid credit card. All proceeds from erotic services ads will be donated to charity. Craigslist will supply the resulting information in response to law enforcement subpoenas.

McKenna said the fee and phone requirements should reduce the number of illegal posts and provide law enforcement with a road map to prosecute violators.

"The criminals engaged in the sexual trafficking of children no longer parade them on the streets of America's cities,” said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. “Today, they market them via the Internet, enabling customers to shop for a child from the privacy of their own homes or hotel rooms.”

Since 2007, McKenna’s Youth Internet Safety Task Force has been working to increase safety awareness in Washington and review legislation related to child pornography and unlawful communications with minors. The office’s new Internet Safety Web pages provide valuable information for teens, parents, educators and seniors.

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