In recent years, sex workers have flocked to Craigslist and other Web sites, believing cyberspace to be a safer way to meet new clients than pounding the pavement, reports Newsweek. “You know they have access to a computer, to the Internet,” says Diamond, a Reno prostitute. “They can read. It just feels more … professional.” But the San Francisco-based Web site pulled the plug Wednesday on its “erotic services” section. Coming under fire from law enforcement and facing bad publicity over a recent murder case in Boston, Craigslist said it was replacing the old category with a new one, “adult services,” that will be actively monitored by employees.
Diamond may feel safer, but critics say it’s not necessarily so. In the wake of several crimes linked to the privately held Craigslist in recent months, several attorneys general moved to end a tenuous truce signed last fall between the site’s purveyors and the top lawyers from 40 states. The pact was designed to rein in the selling of sex on a site that draws 9 billion page views per month and that generated an estimated $80 million in revenue last year, according to a report by the Web consultant Classified Intelligence. Most of that revenue is generated by fees from job and apartment listings.