Children For Sale on Craigslist

I’m sure most of us are familiar with Craigslist, an online Web community where people post job opportunities, items for sale, and find activity partners. Over the past years, Craigslist has grown by leaps and bounds and now has Web sites representing over 300 U.S. cities. However, despite its millions of users and various social benefits, there’s a dark side of Craigslist that most users don’t see. In the “Erotic” section, human traffickers have found Craigslist to be one of the most efficient, effective (and free) ways to post children and women for sale.

This happens in the United States every day, as well as Europe, Africa and Asia.

Katherine Chon, Executive Director of the Polaris Project, wrote the following on Not For Sale, the campaign to end slavery in our lifetime:

“With a bit of research, one can realize just how much of a problem this has become. In one recent case, two Chicago women were charged for selling girls as young as 14 years old on Craigslist. The girls were forced to have sex with 10-12 men per day, and the traffickers made tens of thousands of dollars. A Boston man and his niece were charged with plotting a child trafficking operation with teenagers as young as 13 by selling them on Craigslist to predators from Massachusetts to New York. These cases are just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, law enforcement efforts to fight trafficking nationwide are consistently reporting a spike in online Craigslist ads, and how sex trafficking has “moved online” lately.

In Washington, DC, we see an average of 500 of these such Craigslist ads each new day. Yet, it is important to realize that a significant percentage of these ads on Craigslist do not advertise solely “legal escort services” as Craigslist may like to believe. Instead, a considerable percentage of the ads are a thinly veiled guise for one of the many faces of human trafficking that exists here in the United States. Although Craigslist may convince itself that it has created a beneficial online venue for advertising legal escorts, in effect, what it has done is create a fertile ground for traffickers to further their trade in human misery.

Many of the victims of human trafficking that Polaris Project has served have had their pictures posted on Craigslist. Through serving them, we’ve learned how the pictures on Craigslist hide the pain behind the smile. Maybe Craigslist should ask itself if the marginal benefits of this form of free advertising for the sex trade are worth the far larger human costs.”

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that slavery is a thing of the past, part of the terrible history of the formation of the United States or something that we can read about in our history books and shake our head with sorrow and regret. Slavery is alive and well today. 27 million people are currently enslaved.

You are not for sale. I am not for sale. No one should be for sale. Become an modern-day abolitionist. Join the fight against slavery.

About Shelley Seale

I'm Shelley, a journeyer and learner of the world, freelance journalist and author, yoga chick and dog lover. I pound the keyboard from home barefoot every day, and while my boss is demanding she also occasionally lets me have the early afternoon cocktail. I think not going into an office or collecting corporate paychecks are very good ideas, though not always profitable. I have written for National Geographic, USA Today, The Guardian, Texas Monthly and CNN, among others. Neither the New York Times nor Johnny Depp have answered my letters yet. I love yoga, indie movies, wine, and books, though not necessarily in that order. I believe in karma. Mean people suck. If I could have any dream job I would like to be a superhero. I have performed a catch on the flying trapeze, boarded down a live volcano and was once robbed by a monkey in Nepal. But, I don't know how to whistle. My mantra is "travel with a purpose."

Posted on February 16, 2008, in children, global, shelley seale, slavery, trafficking and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. disgusting! this has to be stopped!

  2. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. How ironic that many of still do not believe it can be true, that we would live in a world where children are anything than other than cherished, honored and loved.

  3. yes this is all true,
    i live in India born here in the Usa.
    i see children work as young as 6 yrs old “cant go to school because i have to work ”
    i have been living there 10 yrs, i also see that Children are not only sold to who ever has a Rps, but i also see children Girls and boys gifted as a gift at partys when there is no money for gifts.
    i have never seen anyone takeanyone or i would do something about it like i said i have beeen there 10 yrs,
    but i know it happing its the youngest 2-3-4-5 that are saved for family, then…
    if i can do anything to help i will
    Blesings Josie

  4. SO is anything being done about this? authority wise this is the most horrible disgusting thing i have ever heard of! something needs to be done about this ASAP thats so illegal on too many diffrent levels! How is that this has been going on and on one has noticed until now? imagine if that was your child who was kidnapped and being sold to do god know what? Please if someone who has some sort of legal power can do something about this it needs to take effective immiedately!

  5. I agree it is disgusting, craigslist has to make a stop to this and monitor the erotic section very closely.

  6. There is no point at taking it off Craig’s list. It would not end the trade. Though it is bad…

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