I’ve only used Craigslist twice in my life. The first time, I placed an ad for my professor to attract people to be test subjects for our psychological study on Tai Chi. The second time was selling my iPod nano. You see, Craigslist can be used for good things. However, just as much as anything can be used for good, it also has the potential to be used for evil. Let’s just say that the second time around, I almost fell for a scam–you know, one of those, “Please send it to my son in Africa.” Luckily, I was able to sell my nano to someone legit, and did my money transfer and product transfer face-to-face. And while I almost fell for an electronic scam, some where in the nation, people were trading other people. Though we may live in the 21st century, slavery, sadly exists and has taken on more modern forms.
Craigslist has become the new site for human trafficking, whether it be sex trafficking or child trafficking. And for all those pedophiles out there, Craigslist has become a tool for them to pay for sex with children. I’m not sure which is the more tragic part–that there’s pedophiles out there using Craigslist or that there’s people in the world willing to sell and make a profit from forcing children to have sex. Human traffickers use the “Erotic” section. According to Katherine Chon, Executive Director of the Polaris Project, a recent case featured girls who had sex with 10-12 men per day (Read about it here) and the Craigslist section our nation’s capital, shows an average of about 500 sexually-oriented ads a day.
In addition to human trafficking, many prostitutes use Craigslist’s “Erotic” section to sell themselves too. Their argument is that Craigslist allows them to meet clients who aren’t as violent and also eliminates the prostitutes’ use of pimps. Luckily, there are people willing to take a stand. Chicago Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart sued Craigslist, accusing the site for being one of the largest sites for prostitution, claiming also that it is a “powerful marketing tool for pimps and prostitutes and makes it easier for criminals to elude police” (Read more here).
It’s disgusting and horrible what kinds of things it reveals about our identities as human beings. But we aren’t powerless to make a difference. Take a stand, and do something to end human trafficking. Events like this have inspired me to join an organization like the Polaris Project and the Not For Sale Campaign to combat against human trafficking and slavery.
I’m part of a group called Freedom and Fashion. Our organization has three goals in mind:
- Advocacy: Bringing public awareness of the various injustices in the world today (slavery, trafficking, poverty, exploitation, etc.)
- Promotion: Providing a market platform for Non-Profit Organizations / Companies selling merchandise created through ethical and fair trade means.
- Love: To show what we believe to be God’s love by reconciling the existing perversion of injustice and oppression in the supply chain through several channels: educating our community, providing alternative purchasing means, and calling individuals to participate in the solution.
Sheriff Tom Dart discusses Craigslist and human trafficking:
Photo Credit: Justin Sutcliffe