Today Craigslist announced that it is removing ads for "erotic services" from the site. This isn't totally shocking in the wake of the Craigslist Killer panic and the resulting pressure from state attorneys general to do something. Also, founder Craig Newmark was never as tickled as he should have been by the idea that he was the world's most successful pimp (for instance, he didn't like the question when I asked him in this interview).
The fact is that booking clients online and controlling the circumstances of the rendezvous probably made prostitutes and other users of the site much safer than they would otherwise have been—it's a little tougher to google a guy you just picked up on a side street by leaning into the window of his car. So this is probably a net loss for the safety of the sexually adventurous and/or those who like their sex with a little capitalism mixed in.
However, it's not all doom and gloom for the world's oldest profession. Overseas, U.S. taxpayer dollars are going to an excellent cause: Getting Chinese prostitutes drunk. Seriously:
"The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will pay $2.6 million in U.S. tax dollars to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly on the job....
“The purpose of the project is to try and develop an intervention program targeting HIV risk and alcohol use,” [Dr. Xiaoming] Li told CNSNews.com....“Alcohol has been a part of the commerce of sex for many, many years. Unfortunately, both global-wise (and) in the United States, very few researchers are looking at the complex issue of the inter play between alcohol and the commerce of sex,” he told CNSNews.com."
Plus, a happy ending to a tale of sex commerce in the U.K.'s Daily News today. Alina Percea, a Romanian 18-year-old auctioned off the right to take her virginity online for £8,800. She reports "I was attracted to him, so I enjoyed it":
"Although her first concern was to raise money for her education, Alina was open to finding more from the transaction, saying that if she should meet her 'happiness and future, then that would be great too'....
'I hope to see the man again,' she says. 'And next time I won't make him pay!'
More on sex, including lots of sex workers, here.