While Craigslist has shut down their adult services section in the U.S., the pimping of teen girls continues on their Canadian site. Two men were arrested in Quebec for selling two underage girls through an escort service, which they advertised on Craigslist. Will Craigslist extend the protection its given American teens to Canadian girls as well?
Myles Tynes and Philip Lafferty operated an escort agency in the Montreal area called Hush, which was a front for a prostitution ring. They used Craigslist’s Canadian adult services site to market their “products” to potential clients, for whom they made all the arrangements and collected all the money. However, not all the women at Hush were adults; two girls who were advertised on Craigslist were under 18. Tynes claims he didn’t know the girls were underage, because they were wearing makeup and high heels and had already been in prostitution before meeting the men behind Hush. He also claims the girls lied about their age. Umm … I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure every teenage girl has worn makeup and high heels and lied about her age at some point. That’s a pretty lame excuse.
Unfortunately for Tynes and Lafferty, “I didn’t know she was under 18” is both one of the oldest and least effective defenses out there. In Canada, someone can still be charged with child trafficking even if they “didn’t know” the girl was under 18. And that might mean 10-14 years in prison for the Hush men.
While Tynes and Lafferty arranged and profited from the prostitution of two teenage girls, Craigslist played a role as well. They provided a safe, socially-acceptable space for underage girls to be advertised for sex and for men looking to buy sex with young girls to find them. Yet, as is often the case, no buyers of the girls were arrested and charged with statutory rape. As long as men can buy sex with teen girls with impunity and sites like Craigslist and Backpage.com give them the tools to do it, child sex trafficking will continue. You can ask Craigslist to seriously reform or shut down their adult services section in Canada to help reduce the exploitation of Canadian girls as well as American girls.