Craigslist Clean-Up: Is it Really Working?

The woman's ad was posted under the subject line "Taste the Rainbow" and featured a picture of her scantily clad in rainbow colored socks and suspenders. She listed her rates from $100 for a "15 Min Appetizer" to $240 for a "1 Hour Lunch Special."

One young blonde in Salt Lake City incorporated the economic crisis into her ad. "I've also lowered my prices due to these hard times making them very generous!" she wrote.

Blumenthal noted that prostitution, no matter where it's advertised, is often tied to other crimes, including human trafficking, child exploitation, drugs and violence.

Such ads were allegedly utilized by Philip Markoff, the so-called "Craigslist Killer," until he was arrested in April and charged with the murder of 26-year-old Julissa Brisman and the robbery of two other women in hotels in Boston and Rhode Island. Police in both states have said he met the women through Craigslist's "erotic services" section. Markoff has pleaded not guilty.

Craigslist was also named as a factor in the murder of New York radio host Greg Weber who was stabbed more than 50 times by a man, police said, who allegedly answered Weber's advertisement offering $60 for "rough sex."

And last week, a North Carolina husband was charged with allegedly hiring a man off Craigslist to rape his wife while he watched as part of a perverse sexual fantasy.

AGs Looking Past Prostitution

The problem isn't always prostitution. After the "erotic services" category was pulled from Craigslist, many of the pornographic images and other illegal activities began popping up in the "causal encounters" section of the "personals" category.

In Los Angeles, one poster looking for a rough group sex encounter put up several images that would be considered hard-core porn.

And in Chicago, Smith said her office has notified Craigslist about a posting found by ABCNews.com looking to trade vicodin for oral sex, an offer that's illegal in Illinois.

Blumenthal said his office is starting to pay more attention to the "casual encounters" category.

"It kind of takes you into a place you don't want to know exists," Smith agreed.

Smith likened Craigslist to an "Internet brothel." And while many Web sites exist with the sole purpose of offering sexual services or money, the difference is visibility to the general public.

"You can't sell a 10 speed [bike] and engage a prostitute with the click of a mouse" on sex-only sites, she said.

Asked to comment on the attorneys general's claims, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster said, "The Craigslist ads now being challenged are similar to those in any yellow pages directory, and are quite tame compared to vast numbers of extremely graphic adult ads featured by hundreds of other media venues, all of which are inexplicably ignored by attorneys general and reporters alike."

Founder Craig Newmark told ABC News in April that the site does not facilitate prostitution.

"Sometimes a bad guy of some sort tries to pull a fast one on our site," Newmark told ABC's "Nightline." "We don't want it there. It's wrong, and that's why we have the help of the general community and the law enforcement community getting rid of things like that."

The trouble with trying to force Craigslist into meeting the attorneys general's demands, Smith said, is that they and other Internet sites are afforded a "tremendous amount of protection" under federal law that doesn't hold them responsible for criminal actions arranged through the Web.

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