Children for Sale on Craigslist

Far from being a relic of a barbarous past, slavery is big business in the present day. Not For Sale estimates that 27 million people are enslaved. Slave traders and sex businesses realize greater profits when they can use the media to recruit “personnel” and makes sales, and numerous outlets oblige them. In February, Not For Sale called attention to the role of Craigslist…

FEBRUARY 15, 2007
View from the Underground


Katherine Chon
Executive Director & Co-Founder Polaris Project

…despite its millions of users and various social benefits, there’s a dark side of Craigslist that most users don’t see. In the “Erotic” section, human traffickers have found Craigslist to be one of the most efficient, effective (and free) ways to post children and women for sale.

With a bit of research, one can realize just how much of a problem this has become. In one recent case, two Chicago women were charged for selling girls as young as 14 years old on Craigslist. The girls were forced to have sex with 10-12 men per day, and the traffickers made tens of thousands of dollars…law enforcement efforts to fight trafficking nationwide are consistently reporting a spike in online Craigslist ads, and how sex trafficking has “moved online” lately.

…a significant percentage of these ads on Craigslist do not advertise solely “legal escort services” as Craigslist may like to believe. Instead, a considerable percentage of the ads are a thinly veiled guise for one of the many faces of human trafficking that exists here in the United States…

Many of the victims of human trafficking that Polaris Project has served have had their pictures posted on Craigslist…

Read the complete article.

See also:

Craigslist: How to Report Exploitation of Minors

Selected Ad from Western Mass Craigslist – Erotic Category
Location: Northampton; posted 8/19/07
Girls 18 -22 — Make Money from a Adult Media Company – m4w – 24
Look for attractive women who would like to make $100 – $900 per session. Our offer extends from erotic looking clothed modeling to nude modeling… Girls must be clean. Previous experience preferred.. but, not necessary… If interested send 1-2 pictures.

[We don’t know if the ad above is a front for illegal activity, but based on following articles, extreme caution would be warranted.]

Testimony in Los Angeles: Pornographers Place Recruitment Ads for “Models” in Newspapers
And she proceeded to tell me her friend, who’s on welfare, has three children, saw an ad in the newspaper. It said, “Girls, Girls, Girls.” And she brought it in and showed it to me, and it’s very typical in all the newspapers: Modeling, $300 a day. And she felt she could get money for her children for Christmas for presents. She didn’t have money…

She began by going for the interview, and they made pictures of her, and paid her the money and told her they were going to make her a star. And it seemed all–everything seemed all right. So she proceeded to leave, and they said, by the way, we may have some lingerie ads you could do for us. We need you, just take your clothes off. I want to see if there’s any marks on your body…

Then they began to tell her she could become a star on cable television. They took her to another location that–all I know is Melrose near La Cienaga, looks like a library, and this young lady I know [the housekeeper] was taken along one evening, [the pornographers were] hoping to recruit her. But she didn’t get involved in it…

…when the woman I know did not get involved, the young woman who was involved in all of this was given “punishment” for not having the friend come along. She was then, began to be threatened. The young woman came home with welts on her arms and the young woman I know kept saying, “they’re beating you.” And she’s saying, “No, no, it’s all right. It’s all right.” She pulled her shirt up quickly and saw there’s welts all over her back. There’s track marks on her arm, and then she confessed to her that she was told there would be harm to her children if she didn’t cooperate. And it’s to the point of immobilization.

Testimony in Minneapolis: Likeness of TV Star Rhoda Misappropriated by Pornographers; Aspiring Actresses Vulnerable to Being Enticed into Porn
As a young dancer-actress-singer in New York City, I experienced first-hand (and have heard countless accounts from many other women in these fields and modeling) continual attempts to convince, that pornography, photography, films, et cetera were a stepping stone to stardom. Young people and children are particularly vulnerable to this kind of enticement in New York City and Los Angeles as they are show business centers. A common statement was, and may still be, “Marilyn Monroe did that calendar and look what she became.”

Realities of Teen Prostitution Mock Notions of ‘Sex Work’, ‘Sex-Positive’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Empowerment’; Media Glamorizes Pimps
The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that between 100,000 and 3 million American kids under age 18 are involved in prostitution and they’re often targeted by sexual predators…

Salon: Atlanta’s underage sex trade
The problem isn’t restricted to so-called Hotlanta; Herbert notes, dispiritedly, that “the overall market for sex with kids is booming in many parts of the U.S.” But the city’s role as a convention and travel hub has given it a particular boost. And advocates say that the prevailing preference for ever-younger prostitutes — fueled by “the cultural emphasis on the sexual appeal of very young women and girls” and “the widely held belief among johns that there is less risk of contracting a disease from younger prostitutes” — has pimps and sex traffickers recruiting more at-risk kids than ever before.

Gloria Steinem at Smith: Cooperation, Not Domination
…there are more slaves in proportion to the world’s population–more people held by force or coercion without benefit from their work–more now than there were in the 1800s. Sex trafficking, labor trafficking, children and adults forced into armies: they all add up to a global human-trafficking industry that is more profitable than the arms trade, and second only to the drug trade. The big difference now from the 1800s is that the United Nations estimates that 80% of those who are enslaved are women and children…

New York Times: The Girls Next Door; Worldwide Sex Trafficking; Role of Porn
In Eastern European capitals like Kiev and Moscow, dozens of sex-trafficking rings advertise nanny positions in the United States in local newspapers; others claim to be scouting for models and actresses…

Belltown Messenger: “Greed, Lust and Ink”
…the only motivation for running escort ads in the first place is unbridled greed-and these supposedly liberal publications can’t have it both ways when defending the rights of society’s underdogs in their editorial content…

New York Press No Longer Marketing Arm for Prostitution/Trafficking
Under the new ownership of Manhattan Media, New York Press, a weekly publica
tion, will be free of ads that advertise illegal massage parlors and blatant ads promoting prostitution. Manhattan Media initially will take a financial hit by dropping sex ads that have made up a sizable percentage of New York Press sales, but the long-term growth prospects for this widely-circulated newspaper dramatically increase as it is remade into a reputable publication.