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Massachusetts Cops Cuff 50 Folks in Craigslist Prostitution Sting

This weekend in Worcester, Massachusetts, local police arrested 50 people in a prostitution sting, Worcester's Telegram reports. Taking place in an area hotel from Thursday night to Saturday morning, the sting's success was largely contingent on Craigslist's 'Casual Encounters' section, where police had posted false solicitations and offers of prostitution.

This is only the latest in a recent rash of news stories related to the racy Craigslist section. The questionably regulated forum is commonly used to seek anonymous sex, although some take it even further towards prostitution. Friday, the New York Times published an exposé of the site and, last week, Boston police reported that an at-large homicide suspect had attracted his two victims to area hotels by using the Craigslist. While the Worcester police had hoped that their sting would nab the "person of interest" from the Boston incidents, they were unsuccessful.

According to the Times, 'Casual Encounters' has become the online hotbed for prostitutes and their johns ever since Craigslist -- in an attempt to purge prostitution listings from the site -- began requiring phone verification and credit card authorization of all posters to its separate 'Erotic Services' section. Apparently, as the site reported a 90-percent drop in 'Erotic Services' listings, the pimps and prostitutes scurried over to 'Casual Encounters' instead.

Since 'Casual Encounters' is clearly intended for (and largely used by) adults pursuing free, consensual sex, Craigslist administrators are unable to use such prohibitive measures to moderate the community. And while Craigslist could do away with the section altogether, we don't think it should be required to do so -- although the morality underlying the section's intended purpose may be suspect, its legality is not.

Truth be told, we don't foresee an end to this cyber-soliciting. We'd rather see a sort of 'smack-the-gopher game,' in which Web-savvy prostitutes make their way from one site to another as administrators deal with infractions on a case-by-case basis. Regardless of how innovative and powerful the technologies of anti-prostitution authorities become, the fact remains that their target will continue to be the world's oldest profession. [From: The New York Times and Telegram Via:]

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Tags: casual encounters, CasualEncounters, craigslist, crime, crime and punishment, CrimeAndPunishment, law, prostitution, sex, top



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