It looks like Craigslist is no longer just the tool of small-time pimps and human traffickers selling children for sex. They’ve moved up in the world and have successfully attracted the mother of all criminals: the mafia.
That’s right: the Gambino crime family, one of the most famous mob names in the U.S., was caught hocking young teens on Craigslist. When the mob starts using you to pimp kids, Craigslist, you know you’re a big-time child prostitution peddler. Ready to make a real change, yet?
The recent bust, which indicted 14 accused mafia members, was full of the sort of charges the mob usually sees — murder, extortion, etc. But this was the first time human trafficking made it onto the list for a case of this magnitude against the Gambinos. It’s just one more sign that human trafficking is a growing criminal enterprise, and that outfits like the Gambinos, who previously limited themselves to running drugs or guns, are now selling people. Specifically, they’re selling teen girls for sex, and they’re selling them on Craigslist.
Gambino soldier Thomas Orefice was in charge of watching over the girls, who supposedly ranged in ages from 15 to 19 years old. But federal officers have said that at least one of the girls looked much, much younger. The girls were advertised on Craigslist, and driven to appointments with buyers by the mob. They also shipped the girls out to Vegas and around to other high stakes poker games in Mafia-run facilities, as prizes for the gamblers there. When the girls had sex with the poker players, any fee for their services went directly into the pot of money. Otherwise, they sometimes got to keep half of what they were paid.
These most recent allegations of selling kids for sex has been deemed a “new low” for the mob. If this is a new low for the mob, then what is it for Craigslist? Craigslist is supposedly a legitimate company that provides a community service. Yet young girls are being sold via their website by the mob and used as prizes in poker games. How on earth is this okay, Craigslist? How much further is this going to have to go for you to put an end to it? Would Kim Jong Ill and Robert Mugabe have to start using the site for you to begin really screening? Or are we at the point where someone would need to clone Hitler and have him sell women and kids?
Craigslist. Let me be clear. You cannot let this continue. You need to institute an effective and transparent screening process for your “adult services” ads, immediately. Obviously, what you are doing is not enough! Your website has now become the advertising arm of an organized crime syndicate. The mafia is hoping on the child sex trafficking bandwagon, and you’re making it easier for them. If this keeps up, you will no longer be the place where people get rid of old couches or sell extra tickets to the upcoming Beyonce concert. It will be the place to go if you’re looking for sex with a child. In fact, it might already be.
I’m getting really damn sick of constantly reading about all the trafficked people being sold with impunity on Craigslist. And if you’re sick of it too, why don’t you tell them about it. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to get my next couch from the go-to-guys for mafia-sponsored child sex trafficking rings.
Photo credit: David Blackwell