We've been saying
for years that the political granstanding efforts against Craigslist do the exact opposite of their intended purpose. They certainly don't stop prostitution or child trafficking. They just drive it further underground. Craigslist has become a very useful tool
for monitoring, tracking and cracking down on such illegal activities. However, every time I mention it, some people get upset that I "just don't understand" the horrors of child trafficking etc. Well, it's true that I certainly have no experience with it, but I don't think that changes my analysis of the situation... and it appears that others are starting to notice as well. Danah Boyd has written an excellent article explaining in direct terms "how censoring Craigslist helps pimps, child traffickers and other abusive scumbags."
The problem with this logic is that it fails to account for three important differences: 1) most ISPs have a fundamental business -- if not moral -- interest in helping protect people; 2) the visibility of illicit activities online makes it much easier to get at, and help, those who are being victimized; and 3) a one-stop-shop is more helpful for law enforcement than for criminals. In short, Craigslist is not a pimp, but a public perch from which law enforcement can watch without being seen.
She goes into detail on all three points. It's an incredibly eloquent defense of Craigslist that should be required reading for all of the politicians, reporters and so-called "public interest groups" that have been running the media campaign against Craigslist, without understanding these basic points. I'd love to see any of the attorneys general who have been grandstanding actually try to respond to this. I doubt any of them will.