Red Letters

Red Letters

Shutting Down America’s Online Sex Cafe

It's bad enough to hear about men who pose as animals and force young girls to prostitute themselves in foreign countries. That's horrible, and should never happen. But sex traffickers operating right here in the United States under our nose on Craigslist?!

Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere are abuzz with the revelation
that 1/3 of Craigslist revenue comes from sex ads.

Many of these ads
offer young girls for sex. It strikes me that this is exactly like the
sex cafe I visited in Moldova.


While I'm shopping for a used couch on Craigslist, thousands of girls are being trafficked in the cyberspace
around me. 

So far, the Craigslist leadership appears unwilling to take down the
trafficking ads
, or to offer a real aggressive enforcement strategy.

have taken to boycotting craigslist until they get serious about not allowing the site to serve as a medium for trafficking underage girls. If you're
one of these people, leave a comment and tell me why and what you think
the boycott can accomplish


Having just been in Moldova and Russia, sitting with girls who themselves had experienced the horrors of trafficking, I cannot believe this is happening on a site like Craigslist.

This is happening in the open–on a public site. Many of the ads are plainly pornographic–and they are right there in the open. It's just like the sex cafe in Moldova!

As the organized protest continues, there are a variety of ways that you can respond and act. Many of you asked what you can do to prevent sex trafficking. I never thought I'd be telling you to boycott Craigslist for facilitating the prostitution and rape of girls in the United States. Here goes…

  • Add
    a tag to your e-mail signature or a badge to your blog that says "Craigslist allows trafficking of underage girls on their site, will you?"
  • Spread the word to your social networks on Facebook and Twitter. Link to any of the articles on this page, this blog post, or any other resource you find. Most people just are not aware…change that!
  • Boycott companies who use Craigslist to advertise jobs. A big portion of Craigslist's revenue comes from job postings. Go to and browse through the job listings by companies in your city–write the poster and let them know about Craigslist's reputation for allowing trafficking of minors on their site. Send e-mails, write letters, and make phone calls to companies. Remember, they probably have no idea. Work to educate. Ask them to take the ad down and join the fight to clean sex trafficking from Craigslist. Last night, I found a local church in our community with several job ads. Contact the job poster directly, and show them to the open
    and other articles.
  • Call your local media. Send a pitch letter to all of the local radio stations and television stations in your town. This is a national story that is easy for local affiliates to pick up. Pitch them on a local angle to this story–such as how many women are currently advertised as prostitutes in your town.

As you spend time researching this developing story and the ensuing protest, you'll run into other ideas and solutions. Leave a comment here to let us know what you're doing to shut down America's online sex cafe.


Last word  on this….folks, this is a symptom reflecting a larger
issue and a deeper reality. Soon the mainstream media will no longer be
enamored with the wrongdoings of Craigslist. Keep fighting the good
fight–wherever you have the strength and favor to speak prophetically
against sex trafficking–do it.

This is an absolute outrage and is happening right under our nose. If someone doesn't stand up for what is right, who will? Will you stand in the gap and defend a young girl who is being trafficked right here in the US on Craigslist? 

Comments read comments(11)
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posted May 4, 2010 at 11:32 am

There is an URGENT message that I sent to HOPECHEST!!!!!!!!!!!
Please check immidiately!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Gregory Moran

posted May 5, 2010 at 12:43 am

Let’s get the word out about this.

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Jen~Beautiful Mess

posted May 5, 2010 at 6:14 am

I am amazed that in my own home I don’t have the support of my husband on this. I will honor him and he respects where I stand. However, he says things like: do they have proof? Go on to our craigslist and see if you see any trafficking. When I went to the adult services section it said that you have to report “exploitation of minors and trafficking” so is that “their” answer to this issue? Are there any other articles I should go to, to educate myself and share with my family?
So grateful for you! Grateful for HopeChest!

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Tom Davis

posted May 5, 2010 at 7:16 am

Jen, on the blog post for today, there is a link to the undercover investigation done on The Today Show yesterday. It’s quite shocking.

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Jen~Beautiful Mess

posted May 5, 2010 at 8:53 am

I just watched! SHOCKING! indeed! Thank you sir!

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Joan Ball

posted May 5, 2010 at 9:26 am

I hope you intend to do the same thing for Marriott, Ramada, etc. where the liaisons take place, and to the cab companies that shuffle girls around. For that matter, how about Optimum, Sprint, Dish-network and the other places that the same girls who are being prostituted on Craigslist are shooting porn. This is a systemic problem that will not be solved with Craigslist. Frankly, I find it shocking that so many people are “shocked” to find out that there are prostitutes, many underaged, in the US.

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posted May 5, 2010 at 9:42 am

So unless you go after everyone, you shouldn’t go after anyone?
Do realize what an insane position that is, Joan? You have to start somewhere and if it’s Craigslist then so be it. You can’t go after everyone at the same time because there’s not enough resources.

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posted May 5, 2010 at 2:50 pm

I don’t think that is what Joan is saying, if I can speak for her. If I am reading her post correctly, it seems that she is trying to say that if we boycott Craigslist we are not solving the problem, just hurting a great online service that many people use. *Maybe* a better avenue to take is writing to our congress to create regulations about this. I.e Solve the problem by addressing the issue itself.

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posted May 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm

What about doing all of those things?
Boycotting is done simply to raise a collective voice. And frankly, it seems that voice is working. CL has done a number of posts on their blog about this issue. Ridiculous ones in my opinion. One even stating what is NEVER allowed on their site ( In truth, I was on the site for 30 min and found paid prostiution ads and MANY pics of genitals. (yeah – I don’t recommend browsing these sections!) You will notice that by people making a big fuss out of this (boycotting, blogging, facebooking, tweeting, etc) an issue has been made. ABC News, the Today Show, the MNPress, Huffington Post, NYTimes, etc are reporting on this issue.
The second reason of boycotting is simply to not place your business/$ or even your name in a place that allows prostitution/trafficking of little girls. I wouldn’t stay in a hotel if I knew they were prostituting out of the lobby. The truth is – if my little girl were being sold on this website, I would beg you to make some noise and to shut down that issue. Not just say, “but it’s a great place to sell my couch”.
The truth is – those of us who are boycotting aren’t doing so to SHUT DOWN Craigslist. We are doing it for change. We are calling for Craigslist to shut down their personal ads section. If they make a change that will protect these girls, we will all happily go back to selling our couches.
PS Boycotting isn’t all you can do, raise your voice about this issue, sign the petitions for Obama, send emails to your congressmen, SUPPORT healing homes and PRAY! Most people I know who are on the “boycott bandwagon” are doing ALL of these things and more!

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Terri Lynn

posted May 7, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I have a real estate business. Given this information, I will not be advertising my listings on Craigslist. I have told other business owners who actually DO pay Craigslist to put their job openings on there. They are completely shocked and unaware. If companies stopped advertising jobs on Craigslist, that would affect their bottom line.
The Huffington Post had an article titled, “Is Craigslist a Pimp?”
What if I knew a pimp and he provided me with a lot of leads for real estate? Would I be okay with that? Could I say, “Well, those other services he provides are not related to what I’m doing, and it wouldn’t make a difference if I boycotted the business relationship.”
I’m not okay with that.

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posted June 22, 2010 at 2:05 am

I wanted to say that I AM boycotting Craigs List. I own a small business and all of our advertising is done through free advertising companies like Craig’s List. I don’t know really how much good boycotting them will do. I like to believe that so many people will stop using Craig’s List that they HAVE to either make a change or shut down the site. I don’t know if me not using their site will really make a difference. BUT…it makes a difference to me, and it is my sincerest HOPE that somehow it makes a difference for the children at a risk of being used as a slave.
I MUST boycot Craig’s List because I have a concience. I CANNOT continue supporting Craig’s List by using their site, and still feel okay about myself.
Boycotting Craig’s List has also been a way for me to speak out for the children who are victims of sex slavery. When customers ask why I don’t advertise on Craig’s List, I have the opportunity to educate them about this autrocity taking place, and advocate for the voiceless children and youth who are forced into slavery.
I am so, so thankful to you for speaking out against Craig’s List. Thank you for being the voice of the children.
Breclyn S. Everett

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