Craigslist has caved in to intimidation from the Canadian government and closed its erotic services section there. Canada is simply following in the footsteps of the United States where government, media, and social pressure was used to sidestep First Amendment protections, ultimately overwhelming Criagslist’s will to resist. Indeed, government is quickly learning that it can easily defeat free speech and privacy rights simply by informally pressuring the private sector enterprises that provide the access, networking, and financial services to do its bidding. The pretense, as always, is to protect children.
“Obviously we want to stop trafficking. Obviously we want to stop any involvement of children in prostitution,” said John Lowman, a prostitution expert and SFU criminology professor.
“But basically it’s a moral crusade being fought by prohibitionists and the Conservative government … In Canada, prostitution is legal,” he claimed.
And how do we know it’s really a crusade against prostitution and not a campaign tp help women and children? Well, because it doesn’t help women and children and, in fact, hurts them.
“Police agencies were having some success finding people involved in trafficking and child prostitution by monitoring Craigslist. So they’re closing down one of the best law enforcement tools they appear to have.”
Also weighing on the issue is Vancouver sex work activist Susan Davis:
“It’s unfortunate they’ve taken away a relatively safe way for workers to meet [and] screen clients,” Davis said. “We’re going to see an increase in street prostitution and all the problems associated with that.”
I previously wrote about her involvement in sex worker’s issues here.