Is it really that
difficult for politicians to have someone explain the internet to them before they make a public announcement that doesn't make very much sense? Atlanta's mayor has decided to blame Craigslist for child prostitution
after finding out that the site was used in some cases for child prostitution (though, the mayor only seems to hint at that, rather than detail any confirmed cases). The article is just as bad, never questioning the assertion, and adding to it by discussing an ad found on the site for a woman who claims to be 21, but the article notes that the mayor's policy advisor "doesn't buy it." Well, that's great. We don't need proof or anything. As long as someone in the mayor's office doesn't believe the ad, then clearly, Craigslist is a den of sin. The mayor's office also doesn't appear to realize that every Craigslist post lets you report it to the site if the post is problematic. Rather than grandstanding, why doesn't the mayor just click the link?
More importantly, though, is that this is placing any blame on the wrong party -- and actually doing so in a dangerous way. Craigslist is simply the service. The people the mayor should be going after are those actually involved in child prostitution
. In fact, if they're all using Craigslist, that should make it that much easier
for the police to track them down and arrest them. By blaming Craigslist, demanding that it take down these ads and making a big public stink about this, all the mayor's office is doing is pushing those who are really doing illegal activities to move elsewhere where they're less easily tracked and caught. But, apparently going after those who are actually doing illegal activities doesn't get you as much press as blaming some website.