Yesterday, a group of activists gathered at Craigslist's San Fransisco headquarters to protest the continued exploitation and sale of human trafficking victims, including children, on the site. Then, another group of activists showed up to counter-protest. Then a whole lot of members of the media showed up to cover the protest and the counter-protest. In fact, the only person missing from that San Fransisco sidewalk was Craig himself. The Craigslist protest was organized by a number of anti-trafficking organizations, including the Coalition Against Trafficking Women. They (along with the rest of us) are outraged at the continued exploitation and sale of human trafficking victims, both children and unwilling adults, for sex on Craigslist. And since they claim one lawsuit and several communications from members of Congress have failed to move the company, they are bringing the issue to their doorstep and asking them to remove their adult services section.
But they weren't the only ones at Craig's doortstep. The US PROStitutes Collective showed up as well, claiming that closing down the adult services section would put women who were willingly advertising for sex on the site at more risk, forcing them out on the streets. The San Fransisco Citizen has some great pictures of the event, though I have serious qualms about their cynical and glib reporting (for some reason, they thought protesters were calling Craig Newmark "Craig Newpimp" because he's bald, not because they were protesting his company's facilitation of pimping children). Like any good protest/counterprotest, there were people filming each other and waving signs at each other. But thankfully, it looks like no one got violent.
Verbal San Fransisco street brawls aside, almost 8000 of you have asked Craigslist to reform their adult services section to prevent the exploitaiton of human trafficking victims on the popular website. So far, we haven't heard a response from the company as to whether they're willing to work more closely with law enforcement, anti-trafficking, and human rights groups to prevent the exploitation of women and children on their website. But maybe the next signature will be the one that finally encourages them to respond.
Craigslist was able to ignore both a protest and a counter protest when it landed on their doorstep. Maybe they won't able able to ignore 10,000 signatures asking them to protect women and children from human trafficking.