Although attorney generals from 17 states probably lacked any real legal grounds for serious action against Craigslist, the company shut down it's "Adult Services" section today because of complaints that the listings may have allowed for illegal activity such as prostitution or human trafficking. In one case, two young women complained about being compelled into prostitution acts 10 times a day by a pimp manager who advertised in the wildly popular classified service.
Other personal ads for consenting adult conduct appear to be still running on the sites run by Craigslist, however just the commercial services where pay is involved appear to be involved in the decision.
Many local underground or alternative press papers still carry some sort of "Adult Services" ads.
The "Adult Services" section was a huge moneymaker for the largely free listing web advertising service, bringing in 30% of their estimated $36.6 million in annual revenue according to one media rating study. Whether Craigslist intends to swallow this huge revenue loss or else begin charging more fees is not yet known.
No doubt some illegal activity will still find some way to lurk around some dark corners of the Internet on one hand. But on the other hand, civil libertarians should be very concerned that some forms of consenting adult activity are so tightly regulated by government interests in what is supposed to be a free society as well government interference in free enterprise. No doubt some activity termed illegal is awful activity, but another part of some activity is little more than just free enterprise, although it may be very controversial in nature. Certainly not all businesses who advertised on Craigslist were involved in illegal activity, however in an effort to quiet critics, Craigslist really had little choice but to close the advertising of these services.