Sex Work’s Big E-Brother

The Erotic Services category has long been policed on, and not only as per the request of law enforcement. It used to be up to vigilantes to report “violations” of the Terms of Use such as e-prostitution. The newest regimen in place from Seattle to New York City, however, is being implemented by Craigslist itself.

The site now regulates postings in Erotic Services in two ways. First, Craigslist requires mandatory account creation before posting as a services provider. This would allow CL to log all your posts over a period of time under one e-mail account. The second track requires phone authentication from postees to Erotic Services. This one-two punch suggests the creation of an easy-access database for law enforcement, either to deter on-line prostitution or prepare for a major e-bust.

It wouldn’t be the first time. In the past three weeks alone, stings have been carried out in nine states, in the municipalities of Knoxville, Nashville, Louisville, Laurel, Salem, Milwaukee, Jacksonville, Des Moines, Omaha, and Ogden, Utah.

How are workers responding to these restrictions? Judging from the increase in traffic on the Personals boards, most are stepping up their code in “diamonds,” posting in Personals, and moving beyond code-words as obvious as “generous.”

No matter how you look at it, the regulation of Internet hook-ups has that Bloombergian ring to it. It just means us sex workers and other philanthropists ought to give, and fuck, all the more.


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