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article imageActivists to protest sex trafficking outside Craigslist office

By Kim I. Hartman     Jul 5, 2010 in World
San Francisco - Human Rights activists have scheduled a protest at the headquarters of Craigslist for Thursday afternoon. Activists want Craigslist to put a stop to human sex trafficking through the adult services section of its website.
On July 8 at noon, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), Prostitution Research and Education and numerous co-sponsors will protest Craigslist's facilitation of sex trafficking at Craigslist's office, 1381 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122 said CATW officials.
The protest includes members of over 75 human rights organizations and will target the headquarters of Craigslist with a large crowd expected for Thursday's march. Speakers are scheduled from noon to 2pm.
A large portion of Craigslist's profits come from the sale of commercial sexual exploitation, much of it trafficked, all of it prostituted. Craigslist normalizes and facilitates online pimping - providing an outlet and incentive for sex traffickers to reach buyers of human beings.
"By providing traffickers and johns with a virtual red light district, Craigslist is aiding, abetting and enormously profiting from sex trafficking," says Norma Ramos, Executive Director of CATW. say Craigslist displays a reckless disregard for human rights by increasingly becoming a part of the sex industry. Craigslist could act to create a sex trafficking free Internet by no longer hosting prostitution ads and thereby setting an industry standard
Sex trafficking is fueled by the demand for prostitution along with impunity for its buyers. According to Melissa Farley, author and researcher on human trafficking, "Today, a majority of men buy sex online from women or children, many of whom are trafficked or controlled by third parties. Craigslist mainstreams prostitution as 'Adult Services'. This protest exposes these ads for what they really are: the sale of sexual exploitation, paid rape, child abuse, and trafficking."
While not everyone thinks Craigslist is guilty of human sex trafficking, many non-profit organizations are stepping up and refusing donations from the corporation. These include Minnesota-based Advocates for Human Rights who returned a check for $25,000 in May.
The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) has also refused to accept a donation. Serra Sippel, President of CHANGE released the following statement:
"To be clear, we do not believe that craigslist actively supports trafficking of women for the purposes of sex or sexual exploitation of minors. We also understand that other organizations may choose to accept funds from the craigslist Charitable Fund, and for valid reasons.
CHANGE did our due-diligence, and was glad to see that craigslist contributes funds to anti-trafficking groups; includes on its website warnings, safety tips and information to report suspected exploitation of minors and trafficking of women for the purposes of sex; and cooperates with law enforcement. However, we think craigslist should go the extra mile for women. There are additional steps the company could take to develop a more meaningful response to the serious human rights violations that seem to be facilitated by the site."
Craigslist remains above the law says Ramos of CATW. "We are sending a message to Craigslist from the human rights community that by hosting these ads they are partially responsible for much of the rank exploitation that is human trafficking." she asks "Craigslist to close the "Adult Services" section of their website and set a sex industry-free standard which would help to eliminate human trafficking on the internet."
The Rebecca Project which produced this video wants to educate people on how easily young girls are lured into prostitution, and how Craigslist has become the primary marketplace for trafficking by sexual predators looking for a quick fix.
"More than 100 thousand American girls have been sexually trafficked in the United States with their first sexual encounter occurring between the ages of 11 and 14," says the project. The problems often associated with developing countries have become a homegrown threat.
More about Craigslist, Protest, Human, Trafficking, Adult
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