Do they or don’t they? That’s the question at the heart of a suit filed by Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart against online classifieds site Craigslist.
He’s taking the site to court, alleging that its erotic services section knowingly promotes prostitution. At a news conference, Dart called the ads "the single largest source of prostitution in the nation" and that Craigslist "catered their site so it facilitates [prostitution], where you can actually and more specifically and quickly get to what you want."
"Missing children, runaways, abused women and women trafficked in from foreign countries are routinely forced to have sex with strangers because they’re being pimped on Craigslist," he said.
"How is that different than somebody who’s aggressively and actively working with a pimp to try to get the word out about the women working for him?"
Just last year, Craigslist settled a national lawsuit by promising to crack down on prostitution ads, but Dart says he’d seen no lessening of them since that time. He want a federal judge to order the closure of the site’s erotic services section.
In an e-mailed statement, Craigslist responded by saying:
"Craigslist is an extremely unwise choice for those intent on committing crimes, since criminals inevitably leave an electronic trail to themselves that law enforcement officers will follow."
"Misuse of the site is exceptionally rare compared to how much the site is used for legal purposes. Regardless, any misuse of the site is not tolerated on Craigslist."