Illinois Sheriff Sues Craigslist For Prostitution; Apparently Unaware Of The Law

from the lookup-section-230-please... dept

If you’re the sheriff, aren’t you supposed to understand at least the basics of the law? Apparently not in Cook County, Illinois. Sheriff Thomas Dart is now suing Craigslist because it’s “the single largest source of prostitution in the nation.” Of course, we’ve been through some of this before. Atlanta’s mayor mistakenly blamed Craigslist for prostitution a while back, but didn’t do anything about it. Some Attorneys General were threatening to do stuff, so Craigslist finally changed its policies last year. Of course, as expected, all that did was make prostitutes disperse to other sites. In other words: same amount of prostitution, just a lot more difficult to catch.

There have been some officials who recognize this. Some police officers have realized that Craigslist certainly isn’t to blame, and is, in fact, a great tool for tracking and catching prostitutes. Hell, even Dart’s own staff has regularly used Craigslist as a tool to crack down on prostitution. His own office says it’s used Craigslist to bust at least 75 prostitutes in the last 18 months. Rather than suing Craigslist, he should be thanking Craigslist for making it so easy to catch these prostitutes. It seems unlikely that this lawsuit will go very far. Craigslist is almost certainly protected by Section 230 safe harbors as the service provider. You would think that a sheriff that used the tool successfully for so long could recognize this… but apparently Dart would rather it be more difficult to find and arrest prostitutes.

Filed Under: , , , , ,
Companies: craigslist

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Illinois Sheriff Sues Craigslist For Prostitution; Apparently Unaware Of The Law”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Remind me again

I’ve never heard a little girl say she wanted to grow up to be a hooker. Women are exploited worldwide and this is the oldest exploitation.

That is precisely why it should be legalised. By legalising prostitution you setup laws to license and govern it, you afford the adult workers rights and privileges they do not currently get and by in large make it much safer for them to work.

Susan says:

Re: Re: Re:

Because our government makes so much money from the convictions and jailing people.

Starting with jobs for cops, judges, public pretenders, and city and county jails.

We live in a very sick society that claims to be living by the laws of the bible, but doesn’t take care of their own people. It doesn’t have to be this way.

That’s why.

wanman says:

Re: Re:

Because most women involved in the industry are under 21 and therefore (scientifically proven) that full decision and discernment faculties are fully developed until early twenties. And since this is the case, trading sex for money turns out in the vast majority of cases to be regrettable. Not to mention the STD issue. Sex trade in a regulated, controlled environment, perhaps. Sex trade on CL, off the street – not particularly wise.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Because most women involved in the industry are under 21 and therefore (scientifically proven) that full decision and discernment faculties are fully developed until early twenties. And since this is the case, trading sex for money turns out in the vast majority of cases to be regrettable. Not to mention the STD issue. Sex trade in a regulated, controlled environment, perhaps. Sex trade on CL, off the street – not particularly wise.”

First of all, the legal age to engage in sex or a sex-related activity is 18 in the US. 21 is the drinking age.

Second, you’re right, sex trade should be regulated like any other industry. While it won’t stop 100% of the street corner hookers, legalizing it into a regulated industry would go a long way towards counteracting all the negative effects it currently has. Besides sutting down on STDs, it would be a new source of income for the government and police departments could save money by cutting back on their vice squads. The courts could save money by not having to prosecute men whose only crime was that they were horny.

The only ones who lose are the prudes who think that sex should be kept in the bedroom, between a husband and wife, in the dark, under the covers, with the door locked.

The logical endpoint says:

The truly culpable

I would say the largest source of prostitution would be the mothers from whose wombs these pimps and hoes sprung. Of course, you would think there would be some culpabilty with the father as well, but thankfully America is still wonderfully misogynist.

Boycott Mothers Day as a way to strike at the heart of prostitution!!!

Or maybe just lock up the hookers. I don’t know anymore.

charlie potatoes (profile) says:

Follow the money

Who profits when a politician grand stands? … and this is certainly the case of a politician grand standing. Remember that all the slimy bastards wrap themselves in the American flag and motherhood, and circle the wagons to protect the children each election year. I wager the high sheriff has a challenger somewhere in the offing … Or else he is planning a Senatorial run sometime in the near future.

Paul Brinker (profile) says:

Your not selling sex...

your selling your time, like any other job or contract worker. How your boss uses your time is up to him.

The one good thing coming from the finance melt down is people have to figure out what there real standards are. Do we devote money to stop people from having sex or doing drugs, or do we put that money to keeping potholes out of our roads?

Time to tell those who make our policys that you have to choose bettween one or the other, there just wont be enough money for both.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think the Sheriff is looking in the wrong place. It is the maker of roads and sidewalks that should be sued. That is where most prostitution solicitation takes place. If we did not have roads and sidewalks, the prostitution figures would go way down. I say we install spikes on every road and sidewalk to make it impossible for harlots to loiter and for cars to drive by and pick them up.

Joe (profile) says:

Good luck with interview. Craig’s list is nothing more than a classified ad. Are classified ads responsible for prostitution? No. The girls walk the streets or do whatever they need to do to perform their job. It makes much more sense from a public policy perspective that prostitution be regulated and contained to designated red light districts. Government just needs to pull its head out and deal with the real world as it exists (as opposed to the Land of Oz where jailing a few prostitutes and johns makes the problem go away).

ProstitutesAreFun says:

Prostitution used to be legal

Re returning us to the 1800s. That would be a good thing. Prostitution was legal in most of the US until the early 1900s. You can thank the Christian Women’s Temperance League (yes, the same fun-loving group that to worked to get alcohol banned) for making it illegal. That and several STD epidemics that were blamed on it.

Susan says:

Re: Prostitution used to be legal

Actually: It was Rockefeller that paid the Woman’s League 4 Million dollars to insure that prohibition was in place. It wasn’t to keep people from drinking it though: it was to keep them from burning it in their cars. By the time it was lifted 15 years later, Rockefeller had his company Standard Oil in Place. You get it now.
He is also one responsible for the Federal Reserve that screwed us in the last 8 years : )

ed smith says:

Yup, that’s what we need… arrest people trying to put food on the table in hard economic times. Your body does NOT belong to the government, so who the HELL are they to step in and say “no, you can’t sell that.” Government has gotten so damn run-amok, that the only solution is the immediate bloody violent overthrow, just like the Constitution gives us the right to.

Daniel B says:

Of all people to point a finger, Cook County, Chicago, IL. We have more corruption than Blago’s cabinet. Seriously, yes CraigsList is used for illegal purposes, but, its only a medium. CraigsList is not promoting prostitution, people are misusing the site. I think Cook County is just angry the Internet finally caught up with them…..Come on, people have been doing this online since Yahoo came out. Now, Cook County has a point, people should not be pimping on the net, however, its their (Police) responsibility to catch the criminals, not CraigsList. If anything, CL is a mecca for Cook County to make busts, and conduct undercover sting operations, this is a chance to attack the problem, not just send it to a new site to advertise on, next they will want another site and then another shut down. GO DO YOUR JOB CHICAGO POLICE AND COOK COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPT. Use CraigsList as a way to catch these people. Don’t just send them to another dark corner of the net. Don’t be lazy, you’r COPS, go arrest these people, they have their contact info in the ads.

Man from Atlanta says:

Re: Cook County

Could it be that Craigslist was siphoning off what would be someone else’ ill-gotten gains? Down here the story goes, when a high level cop bought into a parking lot company, the department sent out officers to ticket everyone parking on the street near one their lots in one of the nightclub districts. Don’t see why the police in Cook County wouldn’t protect the profits of someone they work for.

Danny (profile) says:

Thanks. I think the interview went well. I made heavy use of Mike’s logic – especially the part about predators scattering from Craigslist and being harder to track, brushed up on Section 230 – and pointed out it was very unlikely the sheriff will get a conviction, and was able to discuss the fact that Craigslist has an 18 point plan for dealing with illicit activity in their Erotic ad section.

FoxNews Chicago tonight – perhaps picked up by other Fox stations. They report, you decide blah blah blah.

Droslovinia (profile) says:

your boat (sorry)

There is no scientific proof of the age at which everyone develops “decision and discernment facilities,” so that’s off the table. Also, the age of consent varies from state to state. For instance, “enlightened” states like Kentucky let you have sex at 16, so long as no one films it.

That said, regulation sounds like a good idea for all the reasons the lurker gave, but you forgot to mention that if prostitution can be regulated, it can be taxed. I think that government probably takes a little less than pimps do, so it might be better for everyone.

Your average adult prostitute, while a problem under the current system, is not near the problem that we have with underage girls who are sold into slavery for this purpose. While it might seem inconsistent to decry this while seeking to legalize the profession, this is the kind of thing that occurs when you criminalize something and keep it unregulated.

officer mike says:

There's no stopping it...

craigslist is the biggest because up until a few months ago it was free and the most well known. but experienced “hobbiests” don’t go there often.

if you’re really looking to pay for sex you need to go to the escort review sites like:

these sites have hooker ads, and testimonials by real johns who partake in their services.

Susan says:

Blaming Craigslist For Prostitution and Murder

These Politicians make me sick: Let’s get real here.

Even in a normal economy their Corporate Junky Capitalist Friends are the cause of all of Americas money problems.

Do you really think that women would choose to prostitute themselves if the could take care of themselves and their families if the had a good paying normal job with a good employer that paid them fairly and didn’t pocket all of the money?

Most of the time: These corporate morons offer 10$ an hour and fire you if you don’t have sex with them.

Let’s all look a little deeper.

Now: Do you think that all of the Banks CEO’s that destroyed our economy thought about anyone other than themselves ?

Anyone whom doesn’t care about other human beings are monsters. Sociopathic Monsters. Welcome to the world that our earliest presidents warned us about.

The Banks run the world.

Mark says:


Seems the Sheriff’s department has also forgotten that prostitution is the oldest profession and attempts for hundreds of years to stop it haven’t. Cook county must not be going through the tough times that the rest of us are. They have money to waste on things like this rather than catching killers, rapists etc. Thanks for reinforcing the image that you guys really are clueless

TelepathicMonk (profile) says:

Tom Dart may have reasons to be a frustrated cop

Rumor, and hearsay has it that Tom Dart indeed has untreatable erectile dysfunction. Those who know him say he is apparently a very sexually uptight man, and co-workers snicker at him behind his back. Somehow the info got out, and now many people are figuring out why he is so hell bent on busting people for having and wanting sex. His sexual anger is affecting his ability to use good judgement, (story above). He has alligned himself with political organizations that are run by sexually backward and dysfunctional people. So here’s to Tom. If he can’t get it, no one can. Next, let’s make breathing illegal.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...