A Craigslist official is telling lawmakers that the classified ad website has no plans to resume the adult services section it shut down earlier this month. He's also defending the company's efforts to stop the sexual exploitation of minors.
But William Clinton Powell also told a House Judiciary Committee panel that people seeking to advertise adult -- or sexual -- services will now simply migrate to other Internet sites.
Last Saturday Craigslist closed the adult services section of its website, two weeks after 17 state attorneys general demanded it shut down the section. The San Francisco-based website put the word "censored" where the link for "Adult Services" used to be.
Use of the Internet to exploit children for sexual purposes was a major theme of the hearing on minors caught up in the commercial sex industry in the United States. Witnesses said at least 100,000 minors are exploited every year.
The listings came under new scrutiny after the jailhouse suicide last month of a former medical student who was awaiting trial in the killing of a masseuse he met through Craigslist. Critics have likened the services to virtual pimping, while Craigslist maintained the site was carrying ads even tamer than those published by some newspapers.
Craigslist's adult services section carried ads for everything from personal massages to a night's companionship, which critics say veered into prostitution.Craigslist's CEO Jim Buckmaster said in a May blog posting that the company's ads were no worse than those published by the alternative newspaper chain Village Voice Media. He cited one explicit ad which included the phrase: "anything goes $90."