Office of the Attorney General
Craigslist, Attorneys General and NCMEC Announce Agreement to Improve Public Safety on Website

Press Release Date:  Thursday, November 06, 2008  
Contact Information:  Allison Martin
502-696-5651 (office)
Shelley Johnson
502-696-5659 (office)

Attorney General Jack Conway today announced that he and 42 other state attorneys general have reached agreement with Craigslist to crack down on inappropriate adult content that could be accessed by children using the online classified ad website. In addition, Craigslist will deploy search technology that it developed to assist the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and law enforcement agencies in identifying missing persons, children and victims of human trafficking. 

Under the agreement with attorneys general and NCMEC, Craigslist will remove ads for illicit services and non-age appropriate materials from areas of the website that are accessible to children.  The site will require those who post ads featuring adult services to list a working phone number and pay a fee with a valid credit card that has a track-able billing address. This should significantly reduce the number of adult-services ads and it gives law enforcement a tool to track illegal prostitution and or any other criminal investigation that may result from the use of Craigslist. Craigslist will also explore technology to block inappropriate image uploads and better screen for words and euphemisms for illegal activity.

“Like Facebook and MySpace, Craigslist is a popular Internet destination for our nation’s youth. As such, it is vital that we continue to work together to combat unlawful activity online and to protect our children from those who wish to do them harm,” General Conway said.

 “The criminals engaged in the sexual trafficking of children no longer parade them on the streets of America’s cities. Today, they market them via the Internet, enabling customers to shop for a child from the privacy of their own homes or hotel rooms,” said Ernie Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer of NCMEC. “We are honored to join with the attorneys general and Craigslist in this historic agreement to combat child prostitution advertisements and other illegal activity.”

This agreement follows a series of discussions and in person meetings between Jim Buckmaster, CEO of Craigslist, Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut’s Attorney General, and NCMEC.  Craigslist and the attorneys general will continue to meet on a regular basis to discuss ways to improve public safety on the website.

Other steps by Craigslist to crack down on adult-services ad content include:

•Attach “tags” to the adult- services section that assist parental screening software;

•Employ “digital tagging” to identity and eliminate inappropriate content. Users flag ads that violate Craigslist’s terms of service, which include prohibitions on pornography and criminal activity. Ads that reach a certain threshold of “flags” will be automatically eliminated.