If Craigslist, the Internet's sketchiest swap meet for sofas and sex, is an unwise place to launch a career in prostitution, you certainly couldn't tell from all the ads. After yet another small-town sex-business bust, Craigslist spokesperson Susan Best said, "If you're a prostitute or a potential john, you're taking a big risk putting a listing on Craigslist, because we cooperate actively with police departments." By the numbers, that's not stopping anyone.
Service providers and clients posted 1,700 listings to the Bay Area Erotic Services section on Craigslist between noon and 5 p.m. on Thursday. Close to 1,000 appeared before lunch today. Few of them are duplicates, thanks to changes in Craigslist policy that limit users to one erotic service posting per 24 hours.
Erotic service advertisers must also have their phone number verified by an automated service before they are given posting privileges. There's also an Erotic Services-specific terms of service, forbidding usage of the site for illegal activities:
YOU MUST OBSERVE THE FOLLOWING GUIDELINES WHEN POSTING IN EROTIC SERVICES
1. Erotic Services is intended only for LEGAL services.
2. Do NOT suggest or imply an exchange of sexual favors for money.
This prohibition includes use of any and all code words such as 'greek' or '5uck' or 'bbbj' or 'roses'.
3. Do NOT include obscene images with your posting.
If you're not sure whether a particular image is obscene, do not post it.
If you are unable to follow these guidelines, do not post on craigslist.
Postings outside these guidelines are subject to removal, blocking and other remedial actions.
craigslist may supply information about your identity to law enforcement officers in response to legal subpoena.
By my hooker-math calculations, even with this TOS, you still get hundreds of locals who are willing to take the risk of Craigslist ratting them out to law enforcement in order to buy and sell sex.