The idea of an online “garage sale” was appealing to me. That’s why I began to use Craigslist over the past few years to either buy or sell items. The first few times I opened the site I cringed at the “erotic” section, since changed to an “adult” category. I was only looking for a rabbit cage or a trundle bed frame. I’ll just look the other way and steer clear of those sections, that would suffice. Yesterday I learned that just steering clear was not enough for me. I had another option and a good reason to use it.
I found out through Polaris Project and my new friend Laura that women who have been trafficked to the US for the sex industry many times find themselves pimped through Craigslist’s adult category. Not every person listed in the adult services is a woman that has been trafficked into the sex industry, but this is one of the advertising mediums used by those who are oppressing them.
Craigslist is free to list most items or services. It didn’t cost anything when I listed a dog house for sale. And it was free to find a chair for sale or help my daughter find an apartment. I never stopped to think about how they were making money. Craiglist charges a fee for employment ads. And Craigslist charges for adult services listings or therapeutic services. $10 per ad. Polaris Project ran the numbers for the last quarter of 2009 on the adult services ads:
. . . if we assumed a conservative average of 10,000 unique Adult Services ads per day nationwide, that’s around 3,650,000 ads in a single year! . . .So, it’s $10 dollars per ad for the conservatively estimated 3,650,000 Adult Services ads per year nationwide on Craigslist. I hope you do the math. (read the entire post here)
My conclusion yesterday, though I have found Craigslist to be convenient and helpful, I can no longer participate. I’ve removed Craigslist from my bookmarks and I won’t list another item with them or purchase anything from their site. Can’t do it. This is my next small step in the demise of slavery and human trafficking in the sex industry.
But the good news – there’s a replacement. www.kijiji.com
Do they have as many listings as Craigslist when I’m looking for a bargain? No, not yet. But we can change that. I’m going to go rummage around right now and list something. How about you?