Craigslist closed down its personals section on Friday after Congress passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act “FOSTA” last week.
Craigslist added the following information to its site:
“US Congress just passed HR 1865, “FOSTA”, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.
Any tool or service can be misused. We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.”
The Senate passed the Act on Wednesday, March 21st, by a landslide and the President is expected to sign the law.
Congresswoman Ann Wagner who introduced the legislation issued the following statement: “FOSTA will produce more prosecutions of bad actor websites, more convictions, and put more predators behind bars. It will give victims a pathway to justice and provide a meaningful criminal deterrent, so that fewer businesses will ever enter the sex trade, and fewer victims will ever be sold.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and some sex workers groups contend that while the bill has a worthy goal it over reaches and could do more harm than good.
According to Freedom Network, a coalition of organizations working to fight trafficking, “When websites are shut down, the sex trade is pushed underground and sex trafficking victims are forced into even more dangerous circumstances.”
Ian Thompson, a representative for the ACLU, said, “The legislation could harm the very people that it is intended to protect. The legislation also threatens the vibrancy of the Internet as the world’s most significant marketplace of ideas, and it will inhibit its growth as a place of creativity and innovation.”
Photo credit: Casimiro PT / Shutterstock.com