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Prostitutes Have Just Moved From Craigslist To Facebook

from the big-help dept

When Craigslist — under a peer pressure campaign from grandstanding state attorneys general and some misguided activists groups — shut down its adult services section, it wasn’t difficult to predict that this would do little to nothing to actually slow down or prevent prostitution. Instead, it would just drive those activities to other sites, and those sites might not work quite as closely with law enforcement as Craigslist did. In fact, we noted that Craigslist was a very useful tool for law enforcement to actually track down and crack prostitution rings.

Anyway, as expected, it appears that the activity hasn’t gone away, it’s just moved elsewhere. News.com highlights how it appears that Facebook has become the site of choice for prostitutes, picking up on a small bit of some new research on prostitution by Sudhir Venkatesh. The report suggested that Facebook had already been growing as a tool for prostitutes, but the exodus from Craigslist may have just sped that whole process up a bit.

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Companies: craigslist, facebook

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Comments on “Prostitutes Have Just Moved From Craigslist To Facebook”

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93 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Well, first, AGs will whine with no legal basis until Facebook creates a special adult section. Then the AGs will whine with no legal basis until Facebook charges a premium to get access to the adult section. Then the AGs will whine with no legal basis because Facebook is making money off of prostitution!

The adult section will be shut down, the prostitutes will move somewhere else (maybe Twitter is next?), the AGs will get reelected because the electorate is ignorant, and we’ll repeat the whole process over again.

Eugene (profile) says:

Re: This will make i tharder to fight

Well, honestly we won’t know if this will make their job harder or easier. What we DO know is that these zero tolerance policies are going to make it impossible for law enforcement to figure that out either. The second they get a sense of how to handle Facebook-related prostitution, it’s going to get grandstanded off the site. Which puts law enforcement right back at square one. That’s the real problem.

John Doe says:

Re: Re: This will make i tharder to fight

I think the real problem is, they want it to go back underground. You know, out of sight, out of mind. If it is on public websites, they have to acknowledge it and do something about it. So they aren’t really worried about prostitution so much as they are worried they will have to do their job. It is much easier and more profitable to be out giving traffic tickets than stopping actual crime.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Tinfoil hat FIRMLY on

Facebook still gives users the options for setting up privacy screens. This is not easier for law enforcement to deal with, but much harder, since craigslist offers no such privacy options. Anyone can see a CL add, but only a friended person would be able to see private solicitations.

average_joe says:

When Craigslist — under a peer pressure campaign from grandstanding state attorneys general and some misguided activists groups — shut down its adult services section, it wasn’t difficult to predict that this would do little to nothing to actually slow down or prevent prostitution.

How do you know for a fact that shutting down the section on Craigslist did “little to nothing to actually slow down or prevent prostitution”? What evidence do you have to support this claim?

I’m going to have to say it, Mike: It’s faith-based FUD.

Jay says:

Re: Re:

And just because you seem to want to be rather belligerant until a link is right in front of you:

Craigslist Shuts Down Adult Services; Says It’s Being Censored – and in the article, near the bottom:

Salon.com – sex ads linger on Craigslist

Your Post-Craigslist Guide to Buying Sex Online

It’s NOT FUD. It’s actual fact based knowledge that you constantly ignore to pile up the rhetoric. Stop doing that!

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

*sigh*

The last two, where it shows that the prostitutes merely moved elsewhere…

Some prostitution may have moved elsewhere, but that doesn’t mean that overall prostitution wasn’t slowed down or otherwise prevented.

And for future reference, Gawker, where “today’s gossip is tomorrow’s news,” is not generally cited as “proof” of anything. Nor is salon.com for that matter.

Jay says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I’m merely showing the articles. I bet if you also looked at Vhenkar’s evidence as well, it would show that prostitution has become quite complex.

The reason I’m more inclined to believe his research is because this is the man that hung out with a crack den for 5 years to see their affect on a community.

You absolutely ignored the graph on the Wired article that shows that it isn’t going away.

Basically, average, there’s more evidence that the Craigslist option hasn’t affected a prostitute’s (or escort’s) chances at the world’s oldest profession.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Actually, you might want to consider some of what goes on with something like CL escort ads:

CL made it very easy for girls to casually work in that business. Buy a disposable phone, take a couple of mirror pics that don’t show your face, put an ad on CL, and make a little fast money on your back. If you go looking on escort boards and stuff, you would have seen that CL was valued for it’s “gems”, girls who would appear for a day or two and disappear, usually students, house wives, and the like trying to make some extra cash the old fashioned way. CL makes it easy because it is the ultimate in fast communication, no commitment, no nothing. If you get up today and your husband is away on a business trip, heck, fire up CL and make a few hundred while he is gone.

In the end, that is the real risk on a site like CL (or backpages now): It makes it to easy to work illegally in a casual manner, making it too easy, too simple, and too normal.

Is prostitution itself going away? Nope. World’s oldest profession isn’t going to just disappear. The key question would be “who is buying, and who is selling”. If the client base changes because there are no CL ads, or the girls working change because there are no CL ads, then there has been a change and a difference.

The reason I’m more inclined to believe his research is because this is the man that hung out with a crack den for 5 years to see their affect on a community.

Your mistake is assuming that crack-hoes are the entire market. Crack addled people will do whatever to get crack, CL or no CL. But they are only a subset of all working girls, and it is very hard to take that experience and broad brush it onto the rest of that “industry”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Google search for scorts reviews about 1,590,000 results (0.15 seconds)

WTF!

Not to mention the scandals involving ex-AG’s.

Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal

Now a WTF!

Google search for “American prostitutes scandals” equals about 1,680,000 results (0.22 seconds)

Prostitution is so pervasive that not even Sarah Pallin is getting it out of the shit storm (Sarah Palin husband paid for sex according Shailey Tripp)

anothermike says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes, you are. You’re questioning the existing claim without evidence to support an alternate view. Lern2scientificmethod, n00b. You can’t present an different hypothesis without evidence to back it up. And all the evidence indicates that the delta, the change in prostitution, is a non-negative number.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Yes, you are. You’re questioning the existing claim without evidence to support an alternate view. Lern2scientificmethod, n00b. You can’t present an different hypothesis without evidence to back it up. And all the evidence indicates that the delta, the change in prostitution, is a non-negative number.

I am being scientific. Mike claimed that shutting down Craigslist did “little to nothing to actually slow down or prevent prostitution,” yet he offered no evidence to support that claim. I don’t believe there is any such evidence, so I’m not surprised he didn’t offer any. I think he’s so desperate to say how dumb it is that he’s just making stuff up, so I called him out on it. I’m not presenting “an different hypothesis.” I’m pointing out the lack of basis for someone else’s hypothesis. Why don’t you learn how to use reason, and then get back to me.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

What is the source of your claim that “the intention wasn’t to ‘slow down’ prostitution”? Whether or not it did is relevant to whether or not Mike’s claim was based in reality. I think he just made it up, so that’s why I pointed it out. It’s interesting because he makes a living nitpicking every last detail of his opponents’ statements, but he himself just makes up stuff when it suits him.

Not an electronic Rodent says:

Re: Re:

I’m going to have to say it, Mike: It’s faith-based FUD.

Or possibly common wisdom since prostitution has been around for thousands of years and not a lot has ever slowed it down in any significant manner. Plus a very short trawl of the internet suggests that such services are available in many many many many other places so pure logic suggests that any single site is unlikely to have any effect. In central London for example you can’t walk into a phone box without seeing 40 cards offering such services (despite putting up the cards being illegal), and such services are advertised in local papers (which is legal, sort of).
So I’d say the onus is on
you to come up with proof that it did have an effect.

Ron Rezendes (profile) says:

AJ is the true FUD...

C’mon Joe – if there were a single shred of evidence (even doctored evidence)anywhere in the USA, then every damn Congressman, local AG, and sheriff who lynch mobbed Craigslist would be on Faux News and CNN showcasing what a great job they did in cracking down on prostitution. Of course, they’ll expect to be re-elected for their efforts.

It didn’t happen, so there is no evidence!

Tell you what Joe, why don’t you go out into space and prove to me there isn’t a vacuum out there and take your eff’d up FUD with you!

Ron Rezendes (profile) says:

Re: Re: AJ is the true FUD...

I still maintain my position that if ANY good or reduced level of the aforementioned criminal activity actually DID occur, those poor misguided souls who led the witch hunt would be offering up some sort of evidence of their good deed. People who are elected to office thrive on these things and there is no way this one would have slipped through the cracks. Show me Joe – show me where shutting down the CL adult section ever helped even a little.

My proof that it didn’t is I personally see the same month to month crime statistics in my city and surrounding areas and this crime has not declined. Since a single source is not the best proof (for me anyway) I also witness first hand, the same amount of “traffic” in certain parts of San Diego as a I did only a year or two ago.

I understand how easy it is to be the contrarian without a viewpoint of your own, or to even have the willingness to have your own opinion but really it does get rather old hearing someone claim there is no proof of anything simply because they wish to not believe anyone else whether it be MM or folks like myself who pass along their actual first hand knowledge. If you won’t believe others then you need to go find your own proof and get away from the keyboard for a change!

Often times you simply comes across as a child with their fingers in their ears yelling “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!”.

anothermike says:

Re: Re:

In this case, the easy way out is the tools Craigslist built into their service to assist law enforcement in stopping crime.
Those misguided AGs grandstanding against Craigslist shot their own cops in the foot. They have hobbled law enforcement efforts forever. Just like in the recording industry, when new players tried to work with the industry giants to offer their catalogs on new distribution channels, only to be sued into bypassing the old media, new commercial sites won’t work with the cops to avoid being identified to these rampaging AGs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That argument is always a laugh – you make it sound like police don’t know where there are hookers. OMG! If the customers can find the girls, the police can too. They don’t need CL to point them out.

You also have to understand that in order to make a case, the police need to have the girl actually solicit them. That would mean calling the girls, finding out a location, going to some random place (with a wire on) setting up an operation, and sending the guy in and hoping the girl solicits him.

Sorry, but CL wouldn’t help much.

It isn’t such a black and white world. The idea of pushing the ads off of CL (and other online properties) is to make is harder for casual clients to find WGs. You don’t want to make it easy, you don’t want to make it simple. They want the ads to be generic in nature and easily controlled (like yellow pages), in a manner that discourages transient sex workers, part timers, and the like. They want to make it harder for clients to find girls, and for girls to find clients.

Catching criminals isn’t the only job of law enforcement, it is also crime control and abatement. It’s about keeping crime underground rather than in public. It’s about making the criminal life less desirable to be part of, and less desirable to deal with.

It is incredibly short sighted to say “but CL could have helped”. There is already way more help than the police can work from. Whatever help CL would add is incredibly outweighed by it’s harm.

Shadojak (profile) says:

Prostitution......

God, as he said, legalize it so it can be taxed.

THEN you will see some interesting things, lol.

Like SCHOOLS for prostitutes, Sliding scale costs, Requirements for health checks every 6 months, Licenses…..

The list goes on…. and nowhere in it do i see any reason NOT to legalize it, lol.

Heck even the insurance companies would be involved, selling policies to hookers, lol

As far as I can see, would be a nice addition to the economy ๐Ÿ™‚

But, as some church-based geek would say, what do i know?

my thought is, if they offend your church…..DON’T PATRONIZE THEM!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Prostitution......

Legalizing prostitution will not stop illegal prostitution. Just look at gun laws for your example… people not allowed to buy or own a guy legally still get them illegally on the street. Gun laws do very little to stop criminals from obtaining guns, and every street cop knows this very well. It seems only the people too far away from the reality of the situation (politicians, average citizens) think otherwise.

Illegal prostitutes would remain, and not only that, but a whole new industry of faked legal prostitution licenses and circumvented tests would exist.

It is simply not a solution to a real problem.

Ron Rezendes (profile) says:

Re: Re: Slavery is legal/popular again?

“… people not allowed to buy or own a guy legally still get them illegally on the street.”

AZ where “…buying a guy…” is done in the Home Depot parking lot. However the state government who passed laws to deter this activity (because the Federal gov’t is ineffective in enforcing it’s own laws covering this same behavior) has come under fire as racist and bigots.

Sorry the typo was easy money and humorous.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Prostitution......

Legalizing prostitution will not stop illegal prostitution. Just look at gun laws for your example…

Legalizing it wouldn’t completely eliminate illegal prostitution, but it would reduce it to the point where it’s no longer a major problem. Just look at liquor laws for your example…

When the US government instituted prohibition and outlawed the sale of alcohol, an entire underground system sprang up around the illegal manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol. Eventually, the politicians realized that it was a losing battle and repealed the law. How much of a problem is illegal liquor today?

I’m sure that some crime is associated with illegal liquor, but when was the last time you read a news story about a politician calling for a crackdown on it? Or a report of the police busting a major illegal liquor ring? The fact is that by legalizing it (again), they basically destroyed the illegal market for alcohol such that it’s no longer a major problem.

Jeff Rife says:

Re: Re: Prostitution......

You are looking at the issue backwards. This not about attempting to prevent access, but rather granting access to a previously illegal good.

Legalizing prostitution would result in it being like alcohol or tobacco sales. Both still have some people that do things to avoid the laws (taxes, who you can sell to, etc.), but this is the very small minority.

On the other hand, laws that attempt to completely prevent access to desirable goods result in what you say about gun laws, with alcohol prohibition, drug laws, and even DRM in the same category…all are completely ineffective at preventing access to the “protected” good.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Prostitution......

this might be the biggest problem.and as a result,it would create an opportunity for other nations to view and involve in such activity if only they tend to chat with the prostitutes and seek information …its becoming legalized for the world to see….task it out now…………….

Shadojak (profile) says:

Yo, AC...learn to READ

I didn’t say would be no illegal prostitution…. I said would be a large addition to the economy/taxbase.

And, if you are stupid enough to utilize an illegal prostitute, you get what you paid for ๐Ÿ™‚

We DO still have laws against illegal prostitution, lol. And if we didn’t, guaranteed, they would be in place at the same time that they legalized it.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

The beginning of the end of Facebook

Spam took over email.

Then the hookers moved into MySpace. An endless stream of women wanting to be friends on MySpace. The noise level got so high that many people moved on.

I’ve started seeing the pattern on Facebook. One of the techniques is for someone to tag one of your friends on Facebook. That puts their “Come see my photos” message into your news stream even though you’re not friends with the hookers yourself. I’ve been marking those as spam as I see them, but the fact that they are even turning up at all suggests the same patten that screwed email and MySpace will happen with Facebook, too. Once it becomes too trashy, the “cool” kids will move on to something else and eventually everyone else will follow.

R. Howell says:

Phyllis the Prostitutue

Shuts…I know of a prostitute who was on Craiglist and now she’s back on the street broad day-light. Her name is Phyllis for those of you in Baltimore what a descent ——- All you have to do is go to the Main library on Cathedral St near Franklin ask about anyone who is standing around (the junkies) and they can tell you basically what time she usually shows up. Her drug of choice is crack. So she charges about $10.00 or just give her a rock and she’ll be fine. Blk/Female around 40ish wears a ponytail most of the time, light skin complexion.

dg says:

craigslist hookers and where did they go

well I will be honest they are walking in front of the motel 6 across the street from golf land here in AZ and tragedy is about to strike the light rail is nearing completion and if this dire situation dose not subside then we will get a flood of hookers from phoenix central station and only to end up here in mesa suck until Moses delivers his people to some where in AJ or east fare east Mesa well what do you think essay worthy or not.

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