“The Walmart of sex trafficking”, that’s how Andrea Powell, Executive Director of Fair Fund, describes Craigslist. Her organization is attempting to prevent worldwide human trafficking of youth. And right now, their sights are on Craigslist which has already come under fire for its adult content ads.
Other human rights organizations and law enforcement have been putting pressure on the popular advertising site to abandon its Adult Services section. Currently, the attorney general of Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, is rallying his fellow AGs in other states to join him in demanding that Craigslist clean up their act. Ads for prostitution indicate that they have not made a concerted effort to do that.
Ads in major newspapers draw attention to the experiences of sex trafficking victims. The Rebecca Project for Human Rights has been placing the ads on behalf of victims. The organization advocates for justice, dignity and policy reform for vulnerable women and girls in the United States and Africa.
The advocacy group, Fair Fund, works closely with the Project. Fair Fund educates teenagers about sexual violence and human trafficking. In doing so, they attempt to build community leadership, and provide empowerment programs to give youngsters the confidence to avoid being exploited. If the worst should happen, Fair Fund offers compassionate intervention services. Fair Fund also trains agencies and individuals who come in contact with teens, such as teachers and police officers, how to identify and assist those teens who are at risk.
“Government bans are likely to be less effective than Prohibition of the 1920s; supply and access will not stop,” Claire Simmers, chair of St. Joseph’s University international business department said in an interview with TechNewsWorld. She suggested that socially irresponsible behavior was not in the best interest of Craigslist’s company growth model.
It is true that content on the Internet is difficult to control, and apparently that is the case at Craigslist too, or at least that’s what they would lead us to believe. Fair Fund’s activities are just one attempt to remedy the world wide affinity for sexual exploitation of youth. They focus on females at risk, but research shows that young boys are also victimized.
Companies in our industry, including salesforce.com and Verizon Foundation, support their efforts. If you want to help too, you can donate at the Fair Fund site, and also read other news stories of what’s going on in the dark world of sex crimes against children.