Craigslist still has prostitute ads in Canada
TORONTO - A push to get Craigslist to remove ads for prostitutes from its Canadian websites continued Monday, despite a move by the San Francisco-based company during the weekend to eliminate its erotic services section.
The federal and Ontario governments expressed cautious optimism Saturday after the erotic services section disappeared from most of Craigslist's Canadian websites.
However, a couple of mouse clicks Monday quickly revealed classified ads for prostitutes were still being posted on Craigslist for Canadian cities in the theraputic services section. Price lists for various acts accompanied some postings, although without the sexually explicit pictures that had previously been offered.
Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General was still trying Monday to determine if Craigslist had agreed to its request to remove the prostitution-related ads from its Canadian sites.
"It’s clear to everyone they have made changes to the website," said Nauman Khan, spokesman for Attorney General Chris Bentley.
"It appears that the changes do respond to our request ... but there are still (prostitution) ads on the website. Parity is not there between Canadian and American websites ... so we’ve got to keep pushing."
Craigslist moved in early September to remove the prostitution ads under its erotic services section on its American websites after requests from several states' attorneys general.
Bentley first wrote the online classified ad company after the ads were taken off U.S. websites, requesting that Craigslist remove the prostitution ads from its Canadian sites as well.
The federal government, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta subsequently joined Ontario's fight, also writing Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster demanding the ads be removed.
Bentley recently expressed frustration with Craigslist, complaining the company had done nothing to respond to the requests from him and other Canadian officials except to ask for a meeting.
No meeting was needed for Craigslist to do in Canada what it did so quickly in the United States, Bentley said as he vowed to find more "creative" ways of getting the company's attention.
Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Saturday that Ottawa was concerned the Craigslist ads make it easier for criminals who engage in human trafficking and pimping out children as prostitutes.
Ontario NDP justice critic Peter Kormos said Monday that the Craigslist situation shows how "untamable" the Internet can be and how prevalent prostitution is in our society.
"This situation demonstrates how difficult it is when you don't have the explicit co-operation of operators like Craigslist," said Kormos.
"What we need is the federal government to be more active in regulating this aspect of the Internet ... by making Internet service providers responsible (for the content)."
Craigslist has not responded to requests over several days from The Canadian Press for comment.
Last month, Chilliwack police arrested a 14-year-old British Columbia girl and charged her not only with prostituting herself, but with pimping out other under age girls through ads on Craigslist.
While many weekly newspapers in Canada carry explicit ads, Nicholson has said they are more likely than Craigslist to exercise some editorial control to make sure the ads don't promote child exploitation or human trafficking.
Get forecast by town or city
Possible matches are listed below. Please select a location from the list below or enter a new location in the text box above.