Craigslist cracking down on escorts

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Craigslist — the wildly popular site used to find jobs, look for places to live and order sex like pizza — is cracking down on the people behind its “erotic services” category.

In an agreement struck with 40 states, including Georgia, the San Francisco-based company will now require anyone posting an ad in “erotic services” to provide a working phone number and pay a fee with a valid credit card. The web site says it will also turn over any of that information to law enforcement agencies armed with a subpoena.

It’s a dramatic change for the site, which attracts 40 million people a month and posts 30 million ads, but has resisted calls for it to police its content. The company has a staff of less than 30 people.

The accord won’t impact personal ads on the site, though those sections often contain offers for sexual services. A self-policing program on the site allows users to “flag” objectionable postings. Craigslist also electronically tags adult sections to help parents who use screening software.

A quick check of the erotic services ads under “men for men” on the Atlanta site for Craigslist found 2,466 ads offering erotic rubdowns, $50 specials for “basic release” and outcalls for $130. In “men seeking men” personals ads, there are offers of massages from licensed professionals to services for “generous” men among the thousands of ads.

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