Because of numerous complaints relating to Craigslist's adult services ads, this is what greets American users of the buy-and-sell website :
Yes, the black censored stripe is very real. (In Canada, adult services are listed under the Gigs section and are mainly requests for webcam models and strippers.) A group of AGs wanted Craigslist to shut down prostitution on its website, mainly in light of the suicide of Philip Markoff, the suspected "Craigslist Killer".
For the last two years, Craigslist has required listing fees and a verified phone number for all of those seeking to advertise their exotic wares. But it wasn't enough, so Craigslist offered to pull the adverts and close the section until a resolution can be made. Now I give these guys some credit here. Instead of whining, they get to post this black stripe to exert kind of a passive-aggressive revenge. Plus, it draws attention to an interesting social issue.
Prostitution is a pretty hot-button topic, and always has been. There have been folks selling sex since even before the biblical era. While it is not really the World's oldest profession, it is pretty darn close. And for the most part, it has been exploitative.
I personally do not like prostitution; I believe it to be immoral, abusive, and extremely unsettling. I notice the fact that most hookers are addicted to alcohol, drugs, or horrible men and they're likely to have been victims of molestation. I find it appalling to see that creepy Bunny Ranch on CNN with his bevy of very young women who seem entranced. All in all, prostitution in all forms makes me very sad.
But that's just me, my feelings, my opinions. I'm fully allowed to hold those beliefs and others are entitled to theirs. And my impression of adult activity could be wrong. Maybe these women really enjoy their jobs or at least see it as a way to pay for their college degrees. While society knows that exploiting children is intrinsically wrong these are adults we're speaking of. And adults have free will.
As much as I personally loathe the idea of women selling themselves to creepy, philandering douchebags it should absolutely be her right to do so. Sex trade will always exist and those who engage in it as providers and consumers will still find ways of hooking up. Driving it underground doesn't stop it, but promotes pimping, drug use, and disease.
Maybe we need to regulate and tax the sex trade. It's a seedy industry, but so are gambling halls and nightclubs. I personally object to the idea of a college kid being fed so much booze that he takes a hooker home, but it's his life and his responsibility. Policing morality is a colossal waste of time and resources and when one group's moral opinions are permitted to rule over people, we cease to be free citizens. I'm against prostitution, so I won't hire a hooker; but maybe you feel differently. It's obvious that those who preach against my ability to adopt a kid are huge fans of night urchins, so maybe if Rentboy.com was 100% legal, they'd get the pickle out of (or into) their asses. But then again, maybe my head's in my ass.
So here comes the part where you come in : what is your opinion of prostitution and the ability to enforce it? Is it so morally grave that it should be verboten or a viable source of tax revenue? Is it both or none of the above? Let me have it.