You can find almost anything on Craigslist. Except a date, thanks to new sex-trafficking legislation passed by Congress.
The online site, which features free classified ads for everything from jobs to housing to dump trucks, shut down its personals sections Friday for U.S. sites. In a statement posted online, the company says it dropped the sections following passage of the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act by Congress, intended to crack down on sex trafficking of children.
“US Congress just passed HR 1865, “FOSTA,” seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully,” reads the notice. “Any tool or service can be misused. We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.”
The site added, “To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!”
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President Donald Trump has not yet signed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which passed the House 388-25 and the Senate by 97-2, reported National Public Radio. The act makes posting or hosting online prostitution ads a federal crime, according to Rolling Stone. It also allows sex-trafficking victims to sue online publishers for third-party posts on their sites.
Personals sections are still accessible on Craigslist outside the United States and the “missed connections” section remains in place for U.S. visitors, according to NPR.
Craigslist had previously hosted an “erotic services” section, where people openly advertised sex, but changed the name to “adult services” in 2009 after a Boston medical student was accused of killing a woman he met through the site. Philip Markoff, dubbed the “Craigslist Killer,” committed suicide in jail in 2010, ABC News reported.
Craigslist later dropped the “adult services” section in 2010, driving some of the ads into the remaining personals sections for people seeking dates, though the ads violated site policy and were removed if discovered.
On Thursday, Reddit announced a policy change “forbidding transactions for certain goods and services,” including firearms, drugs, sexual transactions, stolen goods and falsified documents.”
The policy change adds, “keep in mind that Reddit is not intended to be used as a marketplace and takes no responsibility for any transactions individual users might decide to undertake in spite of this,” the statement concludes. “Always remember: you are dealing with strangers on the internet.”