back to article Suit seeks close of Craigslist's red-light district

Chicago's sheriff on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Craigslist, saying the site may be the No. 1 source of prostitution in the United States and is straining his department's ability to enforce the law. The suit claims that changes Craigslist enacted in November to its erotic services section have done little to curb …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Wha-hey?!

    "More than 150 of those came in the first 11 months of 2008, accounting for 3,120 police hours at at cost of slightly more than $105,000."

    So, this asshole wants to charge Craigslist for the police time they used... to SOLVE CRIMES. Hey, Sheriff Dumbstrap? That's your *fucking job*!

    What are you going to do next, sue the city for providing street corners to drug dealers? "Streets are responsible for 100.0% of all street crime. It's about time someone took responsibility for this - it's causing us no end of trouble to have to arrest all these people! If they were hidden away, we could pretend they don't exist and save a ton of money!"

    Gyaahh...

  2. unitron
    Coat

    does Monster.com help you get "lucky"?

    " "Erotic services enables defendant to charge fees of up to $75 per post for job openings due to the significant web traffic garnered by erotic services." "

    So would-be employers pay premium rates to attract potential employees who are only at the web site looking to hire a hooker?

    I guess the jobs outlook in Chicago isn't nearly as bleak as elsewhere.

    Of course they're only filing this lawsuit because the previous one against street corners was such a success.

    (mine's the one with the Chi-Town street map in the pocket)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yellow pages

    Uhmmm, ever looked in a Yellow Pages directory in any US city? The only section that competes with "Escort Services" for as many pages is "Lawyers". (Insert any one of an endless number of lame jokes here...)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Why???

    Why expend all of this money trying to curb something that has been around since human-kind realised that sex was actually pretty good fun.

    Yes you should crack down on people being forced into prostitution against their will but the best way of doing this is to legalise and regulate like they do in the civilised world.

    What exactly is wrong with one person freely providing a service that another person is happy to pay for and, importantly, has absolutly no effect on the lives of any other person?

    [Paris - 'cos I would be happy to pay to give 'er one]

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Single Largest Source?

    Nonsense. Is Cook County saying that they have a complete comprehensive accounting of all prostitution? If so then the police themselves would have to be intimately involved. The inevitable conclusion would therefore be that CraigsList is too much competition or is not participating fully in the support of the notoriously corrupt Chicago authorities.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @unitron

    "So would-be employers pay premium rates to attract potential employees who are only at the web site looking to hire a hooker?"

    Sure, they're gonna need a job to pay the hookers, right?

    Seriously though, to whatever extent people are being forced into prostitution, it needs to be dealt with aggressively. Beyond that, I think policing this is a total waste of time.

  7. Stas Antropov

    PR

    Sounds like a publicity stunt by the sheriff. Wanna be politician.

  8. Jack

    Chicago's sheriff may be the No. 1 source of stupidity in the United States

    Prostitution was around long before Craigslist appeared and it's a safe bet prostitution will be around long after Craigslist disappears.

    It's unlikely Craigslist has any effect on the level of activity, in this area.

    If anything, Craigslist would be a benefit to the sheriff, enabling him to, more easily, identify the "perps".

    I suspect the sheriff is either a moron, seeking publicity or, my best guess, the number of posts, on Craigslist, shows what a piss poor job he's doing.

    Like the "war on drugs", "war on terrorism", "war in Iraq", "war in Afghanistan" and Viet Nam war, a "war on prostitution" is doomed to failure.

    As Anonymous Coward observed: "the best way of doing this is to legalise and regulate like they do in the civilised world"...Canada, for instance. 8-þ

    If the sheriff were to devote the time he spends persecuting girls who are, for the most part, just doing what they believe they have to or guys who choose to pay for consensual sex, rather than raping a girl, and making an ass of himself to putting the pimps and those who traffic in girls or involve children, IMNSHO, he'd be earning his salary. As it is, again IMNSHO, he's a waste of the taxpayers' money and an embarrassment to law enforcement, Chicago and the United States...none of which need any more damage to their reputations.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    A Dolt Work

    No suit against Adultwork?

    AC, cos, well....

    Pais would never pay.

  10. Charles Silver badge
    Alert

    Re: Why???

    Two reasons.

    One: Prostitution is frequently a business that gets hooked by gangs and organized crime. And either of them bring with them worse crimes such as extortion, racketeering, drug crimes, and crimes of violence. These kinds of crimes blight whatever community they entrench and are a direct threat to the population. If allowed to fester, they can also begin to undermine the local government as well. As Chi-town already has a checkered past when it comes to organized crime, it behooves their reputation to keep it under control.

    Two: A real problem really arises when non-adults and especially "pre-sexual" individuals are the subjects in question. Not only is this morally repugnant in most cultures, but it shows either the child was taken unwillfully from the parent or that the parent is an amoral accomplice in the whole affair. Such scenario tend to lead to long-term problems later on, and not just Chicago, but THE FEDS can get really "testy" about such situations.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    You're all missing the point

    What he is saying is this.

    Becuase it's on Craigs list, it's very visable and we have do our job. If they close it down, we can pretend it's not happening. Everyone one wins (well we do anyway).

  12. CockKnocker
    Go

    go prozzies go!

    Everyone loves prozzies so whats the big deal!!! - right im off to thailand!

  13. Joe K
    Thumb Down

    Yeah, right

    I've never been to Craigslist, but i really doubt its full of "child prostitution" like these imbeciles make out.

    Come on! Try to maintain some credibility.

  14. TeeCee Gold badge

    I can see what they did there....

    "While defendant does not profit from erotic services per se...."

    ".....erotic services advertisers.........pay a $5 fee (most ads are free)."

    ".....in an agreement between Craigslist and 40 state attorneys general."

    Or, in other words, they do now! I wonder if "but we were told to take money from pimps by the state attorney general" counts as a defence when prosecuted for living off immoral earnings (or whatever the equivalent piece of legislation across the pond is)?

  15. Daniel
    Thumb Down

    hypocritical ...

    ... coming from someone who is gets $$$ from the state for fucking people over, every day.

  16. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Stop

    Chicago is NOT a paradise?

    Hold on a sec, I thought all that "community organising" The Big O did there (his so-called qualification to run as Prez) made it like a paradise? Why on Earth would anyone need to commit any crime after Obama had solved all their problems? What, you mean the nasty people didn't just pack up and go away because Obama asked them to? Well, don't worry, I'm sure it will still work as a foriegn policy.

    The Chicago police should shut up and simply use CraigsList as an information source, it's probably pushing their arrest rate up nicely. As the article says, CraigsList has already cut a deal with the State over their listings and will remove any that are brought to their attention as illegal. Or is it election time soon and this is just some local politician trying to look tough on crime by avoiding the real causes and blaming everything on that nasty interweb? Maybe CraigsList just didn't know any of Blago's and Obama's friends.....

  17. Nameless Faceless Computer User
    Pirate

    Not surprising

    This is not surprising to anyone who has dealt with the Illinois police department. The slightest infraction of any law is met with overwhelming and unnecessary ferocity.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Charles

    > One: Prostitution is frequently a business that gets hooked by gangs and organized crime.

    Only in a society where prostitution is illegal so automatically criminalises the participants, so criminals are attracted to it. The Escort business in London (where it isn't illegal) is remarkably clean of gangs and organized crime - or at least it was until the Russians, Eastern Europeans and Chinese gangs started importing people. However, the vast majority in London is NOT involved with any criminal activity.

    > Two: A real problem really arises when non-adults and especially "pre-sexual" individuals are the subjects in question.

    This is a seperate issue and will not be solved at all by making Prostitution illegal. Child abuse is a crime in itslef, you do not need to ban all paid-for sexual activity to deal with this problem. Doing that will actually make it MORE difficult.

  19. Pyrrho Huxley

    Why???

    Re: Why???

    @ Charles "Prostitution is frequently a business that gets hooked by gangs and organized crime."

    This is circular though, isn't it? Because the reason organised crime is involved is prohibition (of sex work). And the real reason for prohibition is that many religious people believe that sex is evil. So the problem here is the state's interference in the activities of consenting adults. This will stop, of course, when the USA becomes a free country.

  20. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Flame

    What I don't understand is...

    Surely NOT having Craigslist would cost them MORE money as they would have to do all of the investigative legwork upfront without the initial leads?

    I guess though that would be predicated on them actually wanting to eradicate prostitution rather than simply denying it exists as it's not visible on the web.

    Another US dickend who seems to have missed the point.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably a silly question but....

    Illegal activities will happen anyway and as far as I can tell, one of the complaints is that the police arrested 200 people by looking up their details from craigslist and arresting them.

    How many of the 200 would they have caught if craigslist hadn't been around ?

    Surely they were only caught BECAUSE of the ads on craigslist ?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Better solution

    Why not just make prostitution legal? Seems to me that A) People like sex, B) People are willing to break the law AND pay money to get it, and C) The economy is in the crapper.

    So why not legalize it, require regular health checks and STD screenings for the ladies and gentlemen of the night (to make it safer for the customers), and then TAX THE CRAP out of it?

    Oh yeah, that's right... This country still has a stick up its ass about sex. Thanks a bunch Europe for sending us all those puritans.

    PS: Is it still prostitution if you barter another service in exchange for doing the deed? Say IT work? :P

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Quite cheap

    "accounting for 3,120 police hours at at cost of slightly more than $105,000"

    $34 an hour isn't much. Where can I hire myself a police officer?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    puritans

    I think it was Robin Williams who commented the puritans were so prudish even then english kicked them out

  25. Jason DePriest
    Boffin

    Missing the point

    "While defendant does not profit from erotic services per se, erotic services is the catalyst behind Craigslist being the ninth most popular website in the country"

    That tells you all you need to know. Erotic services are overwhelmingly supported by the populace.

    The populace may be comprised of mostly heathens and sodomites with desires the Christian camp (myself included) find amoral, but it is not the place of law to dictate ethics.

    Regulate and tax them just like tobacco and alcohol.

    Expand the sin tax. If the numbers are any indication, it could help solve our (the US) deficit and fund the ridiculous bail outs.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Charles

    Considering how corrupt Chicago is rumored to be, it's entirely possibly that organized crime is behind this move. Perhaps Craigslist is making it too easy for a women to work freelance and pimps aren't happy.

    Incidentally, recall from the last story that "money generated from erotic ads will be donated to charities that work to prevent child exploitation and human trafficking."

    And speaking of child exploitation, "pre-sexual individuals" are not being forced into prostitution, not in this country anyway. When the "THE FEDS" did their last nationwide prostitution sweep they "rescued" (arrested) 48 "child" prostitutes "as young as" 13. That's not "pre-sexual" as you put it, and obviously that means most of them were older. If that's the worst the FBI could find in the entire US of A I seriously doubt you have knowledge of any younger people being involved.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cost of $105,000?

    And resulting in income to the state (in the form of fines) in what amount? If they can't turn a good profit on 200 arrests, then the fines are set way too low.

    Incidentally, wouldn't those officers have been paid anyway, even if they weren't patrolling Craigslist?

  28. BioTube

    To the heathenists

    If most of the population want legal prostitution, why is it still illegal? You can argue all you want, but I think the majority of clients only care about legality if and when they get caught and not a moment sooner.

  29. b166er

    Most of the population

    don't want to smoke themselves into an early grave, but that IS legal and around children too!

    Most working girls and their clients would much rather it was legal; it's the rest of us that have bees in our bonnets about it.

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