Craigslist may have self-censored the Adult Services section of its U.S. websites as of late Friday night, but ads hinting at and seeking prostitution and offering erotic massages are still appearing in a different section on the online bulletin boards across the country.
Ads alluding to exchanges of cash for sexual services and seeking massage clients are still showing up in Casual Encounters section of Craigslist's websites in New York, Las Vegas and other parts of the country.
ABCNews.com today discovered several ads across a number of regional Craigslist sites that explicitly mention monetary exchange for sexual favors, seek "fun time$," offer a massage from an "attractive independent female" or seek a "mutually beneficial" meeting.
One of the ads was flagged by other Craigslist users after ABCNews.com found it this afternoon.
Craigslist did not respond to a request for comment late today.
The controversial Adult Services section on the classified advertisement site's homepage was replaced on Friday with a black and white "CENSORED" box that does not link, just days after a group of state attorneys general had released a statement that they believed the section should be eliminated.
In the statement, attorneys general in 17 states said the site was aiding in illegal exploitation, prostitution and human trafficking.
In the letter, the state officials asked Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, CEO Jim Buckmaster and the site's attorney, Edward Wes, to "immediately take down the Adult Services portion of craigslist."
"We hope to work closely with them, as we are with experts at nonprofits and in law enforcement, to prevent misuse of our site in facilitation of trafficking," Craigslist spokeswoman Susan MacTavish Best said last week.
Craigslist has made no statement since the change to the site, so it is not clear whether the Adult Services section is being removed permanently.
In the past, Craigslist has maintained that the Adult Services section was for legitimate adult services, not prostitution.
Craigslist said that it tried to monitor the postings on the page, and all ads posted there required vetting and approval.
While the Adult Services section, which reportedly brings in $45 million per year, was removed from the U.S. sites, as early as this afternoon an ad was found on Toronto's Craigslist site from "busty and sexy," saying "when you come over to my place, you are going to have the good time of your life."
Craigslist has previously taken steps to reduce misuse and illegal activities. In November 2008 the site began requiring a phone number and small fee to place an advertisement in the Erotic Services section.
In May 2009, after coming under further fire from state and local law enforcement from around the country, Craigslist replaced the Erotic Services section of its regional sites with the new Adult Services section.
All advertisements in this section, according to Craigslist, would be screened by the site's employees before being posted and cost $10, rather than the previous $5 cost of an Erotic Services advertisement.
But many prosecutors and police said the changes were not enough to keep ads off the website that promoted illegal activity.