Craigslist has closed its dating ads section in the USA in response to a new bill against sex trafficking. The bill states that websites can now be punished for “facilitating” prostitution and sex trafficking. Ads promoting prostitution and child sexual abuse have previously been posted in the “personals” section of Craigslist. In a statement, Craigslist said the new law would “subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully”.
The US Congress recently passed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. Websites are not usually held responsible for the content that members post, as long as illegal material is removed as soon as the service provider is made aware of it. But, the bill states that “websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts” should not be protected. It imposes fines and prison terms for those who own or operate a website that facilitates prostitution. The website Reddit also banned its escorts message board for the same reason.