Craigslist Prostitution Ads Resurface in Some Places, Study Says

Prostitution ads are back on Craigslist, according to a new report.

Craigslist, the online-classified ad site, eliminated a category dedicated to adult services in 2010 and shut down erotic services section a year earlier amid pressure from U.S. state attorneys general.

That hasn’t stopped prostitution ads from showing up in the “casual encounters” and “therapeutic massage” sections of the site in some markets, consulting firm AIM Group LLC said in a report cited by Bloomberg.com’s Tech Blog. While there are fewer ads than when Craigslist offered its “erotic/adult services” categories, ads that appear to be for paid sex work are posted regularly in some markets, the report said.

“A quick check shows the ads are frequently and quickly flagged by the ‘community’ or perhaps competitors,” the report said. “Craigslist seems to take the ads down when they are posted, but some slip through.’The most salacious ads are often taken down within 10 minutes to an hour, said the report.

Craigslist did not respond to a request for comment.

AIM Group, a market research firm focused on the classified-advertising industry, also discovered ads or listings for escorts, body rubs and even call girls on sites including Facebook Inc. (FB) and New York Times Co. (NYT)’s About.com.

‘‘Some ads or listings are extremely explicit; some are just suggestive,” the report said. “Some are paid; many are free; still others are pay-per-click.”

‘Trusted Environment’

Facebook said it gives users the ability to provide immediate feedback on its ads and site, and encourages people to report anything they find offensive or misleading. The Menlo Park, California-based company, which last week sold shares in the largest technology IPO, also has a team dedicated to investigating these complaints, and content that violates the rules is removed.

“Facebook strives to create a trusted environment for everyone that uses our service,” Fred Wolens, a spokesman for Facebook, said in an e-mail.

Kristin Mason, a spokeswoman for the About Group, said these links to third-party sites are placed by independent contract writers who “are free to write and link to any site they deem useful to readers of that topic.”

“About.com derives no revenue from links to external sites or resources,” Mason said in an e-mail.

To contact the reporter on this story: Olga Kharif in Portland at okharif@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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