Craigslist pulls sex ads from Canadian sites
TORONTO - The federal justice minister says Craigslist appears to have pulled prostitution ads from its Canadian websites after prolonged pressure from Ottawa and several provinces.
The San Francisco-based company's "erotic services" section did not appear on the majority of its Canadian homepages Saturday morning, however some ads were still on Halifax site and a detailed search of the Toronto site brought up an ad posted as recently as Friday.
Justice minister and Attorney General of Canada Rob Nicholson says he's pleased the ads seem to have been removed.
He says the government was concerned such ads could facilitate serious criminal offences like child prostitution and human trafficking.
The pulling of the section blatantly selling sex --which often carried explicit pictures and price lists -- comes after nearly four months of repeated requests from Canadian governments.
The company removed its "erotic services" section from its U.S. sites in September after several U.S. attorneys general said there wasn't enough protection against blocking potentially illegal ads promoting prostitution.
That prompted Ontario's Attorney General Chris Bentley to write a letter to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster, asking him to pull prostitution ads in Canada as well.
Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the federal government followed suit with letters of their own.
Craigslist's initial reaction was nothing more than to request a meeting with Ontario officials, while continuing to allow hundreds of ads for hookers to be posted on its Canadian sites every day.
Bentley had expressed his disappointment and said Ontario was looking for "creative" new ways to get Craigslist's attention.
In November, 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, the federal government says they are more likely than Craigslist to exercise some editorial control to make sure the ads don't promote child exploitation or human trafficking.