Craigslist's adult services section is now out of business around the world.
The ouster of the controversial section was confirmed by Craigslist to the office of Connecticut Attorney General General Richard Blumenthal yesterday, according to the Associated Press. The removal of the section from dozens of countries follows a similar action that saw it taken down in the U.S. four months ago.
Responding to the global takedown, Blumenthal called it "another another important step in the ongoing fight to more effectively screen and stop pernicious prostitution ads," the AP reported.
No date was specified as to when the section was removed globally, but Wired Magazine apparently broke the story this past Saturday, saying that Craigslist "quietly" took down the section from all of its international sites, including those in Canada, Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa.
For more than a year, Craigslist found itself the target of heated criticism over its ads for erotic services.
Attorneys general and human rights groups alike complained that the section was a storefront for ads promoting prostitution and the trafficking of human beings. Craigslist was also in the spotlight early last year after the arrest of Philip Markoff, an individual who was reportedly using the site to meet women and was charged with murdering one of them. This past August, Markoff committed suicide in his jail cell as he was awaiting trial.
In an effort to keep the site running, Craigslist tried to pull a few tricks out of its hat. Last year, the company renamed the section from "erotic services" to "adult services." Along with the name change, Craigslist said at the time that it would monitor the ads rather than relying on users to identify ones that were questionable. It also upped the initial price to post an adult ad from $5 to $10.
But this past year, the scrutiny intensified, as attorneys general around the country joined in an effort to convince the company to shut down the adult section in the U.S. Bowing to the pressure, the company finally closed the U.S. brand of its adult ads this past September and has promised to keep the section shut down for good.
Craigslist and the Connecticut attorney general's office were not immediately available for comment.