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As petitions by lawyers and religious leaders target the legal establishments, workers warn of potential danger on streets. Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao review — teenage trial by misogyny. Criminalising my job as a sex worker threatens my livelihood and safety Gala Vanting. The future of sex work — a photo essay. It has been 23 years since New South Wales decriminalised sex work. How much has changed for sex workers?

Prostitution is not a job. Sex workers fear violence as US cracks down on online ads: Sexual freedom is at risk from these damning new bills passed by Congress Steven W Thrasher.

Tacky, yes, but better than the human version Catherine Bennett. But when the front door opened, it wasn't Amy who answered. It was a paunchy young man with acne, armed with a Ruger. When Craig Newmark began sending out e-mails to his buddies during the winter of , he had no intention of starting a multimillion-dollar business. A recent transplant to San Francisco whose counterculture streak belied a disarming shyness, Newmark simply wanted to keep fellow computer geeks abreast of events throughout the Bay Area.

During the ensuing months, droves of new members subscribed and began posting their own ads. Newmark made no attempt to moderate and let the list grow organically. Within a year Craigslist had come to resemble more of a digital classifieds section than a mere e-mail list. When Newmark began organizing posts by categories, the transition was complete. In he incorporated the site, making it a for-profit outfit, but nonetheless sticking with the dot-org domain name, to reflect its self-described "noncommercial nature.

The site experienced exponential growth during the mids, thanks to its intuitive, no-frills layout and great word of mouth. Although Newmark and Co. Users post more than 40 million new ads per month, according to the site's fact sheet, making it by far the world's largest source of classified advertising in any medium.

The site that once catered exclusively to Newmark's Bay Area pals has established itself in cities in 50 different countries and produces upward of 22 billion page views per month.

Newmark attributes his site's success to its DIY format. Unencumbered by registration fees or account requirements, commerce flourishes. But it's precisely this anything-goes ethic that has politicians and law enforcement officials around the country gunning for Newmark's brainchild. They point to the popular Erotic Services category — intended for legal trades such as phone sex and escorts — as a cesspool of prostitution.

He's referring, of course, to the recent spate of headline-grabbing murders that have given us "Craigslist Killer" as a top Google search term. In February a Dallas man was found guilty of capital murder for killing a year-old woman who responded to his Craigslist ad for a Chevrolet Caprice. Three weeks later, Boston University medical student Philip Markoff was arrested and accused of murdering a prostitute he'd solicited through Craigslist. And in late April, authorities nabbed a man in Kent, Washington, after he allegedly posted a Craigslist ad titled, "A strange desire," with the intent to solicit a woman to have sex with and then kill.

I was on CNN last night. Both men were greeted with considerable skepticism. Newmark's April 24 appearance on Nightline came across as less an interview and more of an ambush, with the balding computer programmer cornered at his desk by interviewer Martin Bashir. Buckmaster's interview on CNN that same week was more cordial and nuanced, but he was nonetheless on the defensive.

In full damage-control mode, Newmark has become considerably harder to reach, rebuffing the New York Times and the Boston Globe and insisting on seeing interview questions ahead of time. Which makes it all the more remarkable that on May 3, he spoke at a memorial concert in Katherine Olson's honor. Before a throng of cameras, the Olson family stood shoulder to shoulder in front of their home in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, to address the world. Rolf and his son, Karl, bookended Nancy and daughter, Sarah Richter.

It was the day after they received news of Katherine's death. Their heads looked heavy as they took questions from the press. We will miss her terribly. She was a bright light and free spirit. Early the following week, Rolf went into his office at Richfield Lutheran Church, where he serves as a pastor.

Among the mail was a Fed-Ex envelope from San Francisco. He looked at the name but couldn't make it out. He opened it up and found a letter from Craig Newmark. It took him a moment to realize it was the "Craig" from "Craigslist. Here's my e-mail, here's my phone number, I'm available anytime. Surrounding them were 1, friends, family and classmates of Katherine, along with the police officers who investigated the case.

A few days later, Rolf found himself once again at his church office. He remembered the letter from Craig and decided to contact him. I mean it was like ping-ping. Again, he said, 'If there is anything we can do to support your efforts, don't hesitate to contact me.

Throughout the ordeal, the family members took walks around their neighborhood to think. It was during these walks that they came up with the idea for a memorial concert in Katherine's honor. Rolf thought back to his contact with Newmark, but he wasn't sure how to approach the company.

He spent hours crafting a concise message. Buckmaster wrote back a message in all lowercase letters: It's like a brief text you would send to your friend. It was their first return to the national media spotlight. Moments before the taping, Sarah was on the phone with a representative from Craigslist asking if she could announce their partnership in the concert.

But they were upfront right away to say, 'Nope. This is important to us. This is an important statement. It took no more than, what, 30 minutes? As the camera focused, the Olson family appeared with smiles. When host Meredith Vieira asked Rolf why they chose to finally talk to the media, he answered, "One of our philosophies that we've operated with since Katherine died is we want to leverage as much good as we can out of this wretched experience.

So today, we're here to talk about Katherine, to let her legacy live and have her be defined by her life, and not by her death. Upset by salacious language she had read on MySpace. Any other attorney general might have relegated the missive to the recycling bin, or perhaps gotten back with a canned response.

But Richard Blumenthal is not your run-of-the-mill attorney general. A gritty, ambitious fixture of the Connecticut Democratic Party for decades, Blumenthal was the youngest U.

He made his name prosecuting drug traffickers and organized crime, and in was elected Connecticut's state attorney general, a position he would hold through four re-elections. In when Sen. Joe Lieberman opted to continue his senatorial campaign during his vice-presidential bid, it hampered Blumenthal's career trajectory — had Lieberman bowed out, Blumenthal was a shoo-in to become his successor in the Senate.

As it turned out, fate had other plans, and Blumenthal's ascension would have to wait. In the meantime, the man took on various crusades with a zeal that ingratiated him to law-and-order types and progressives alike. He banned ATM fees, sued Microsoft and Big Tobacco, and orchestrated a national campaign against misleading sweepstakes mailings. His enthusiasm for courting the national spotlight brought the occasional criticism of attention-seeking — "The most dangerous place in Connecticut is between Dick Blumenthal and a TV camera," quipped Slate.

Currently, the tanned year-old is laying the groundwork for a Senate run. Rather than disregard the unassuming two-page letter on his desk that fall day, Blumenthal found a new cause at which to throw himself with characteristic vigor.

The first thing he did was fax Craigslist a short missive on Connecticut attorney general letterhead, appended with a copy of the mother's original complaint. Twenty-four days after Blumenthal's first fax, an attorney for Craigslist replied with a four-page letter that effectively said, "Thanks, but no thanks. He suggested that she install a web content filter, which, he pointed out, is "freely available, easy to use and effective.

The law-and-order East Coast prosecutor and the Left Coast live-and-let-sin entrepreneurs couldn't have been cut from more different cloths. Blumenthal was a sergeant in the Marine Corps; Newmark adopted a purple peace sign as the logo of his company.

Blumenthal, a Brooklyn native, hails from a well-to-do family and holds degrees from both Harvard and Yale; Newmark, a Jersey boy, is more humble in stature as well as pedigree, having earned his computer-science degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. During the course of the next several months, both factions bantered back and forth over conference calls, with Craigslist executives gradually growing more receptive to making some concessions.

In early Newmark and Buckmaster agreed to amp up their enforcement of the site's terms of use and introduced a telephone verification requirement. As a result, the number of posts for erotic services in Hartford, Connecticut, dropped from about per day to 50, according to Craigslist's Web metrics. But when a Connecticut woman was arrested on March 19, , for prostituting herself on Craigslist, Blumenthal jumped back on the case, livid that sex-worker ads were still polluting the site.

If it's truly concerned about the issue, it must devote resources and technology to eliminate these postings from its site. Frustrated by what he perceived to be stonewalling, Blumenthal went public. In March he appeared in the daily New Haven Register to accuse Craigslist of profiting from prostitution, and then laid into Buckmaster and Newmark for allegedly dragging their feet in implementing the agreed-upon changes.

Baffled, Craigslist brass went on the defensive and fired back on the site's blog. In July the sides arranged their first face-to-face sit-down. Buckmaster, along with two Craigslist attorneys, made the cross-country trek to Rye, New York, just beyond the Connecticut border, halfway between Hartford and New York City. They met Blumenthal and a few of his subordinates in a coffee shop and, over the course of a few hours, hashed out an agreement.

Craigslist also vowed to donate all profits from the sex category to various charities, particularly those that address child exploitation and human trafficking. The agreement, honed and refined throughout fall , was made public in November. A total of 40 attorneys general endorsed the deal, including those from Tennessee, Washington, Colorado and Arizona notable exceptions include Florida, Texas, California, Missouri, Minnesota and New York.

Craigslist CEO Buckmaster says the company is doing its best to comply with the attorney general's concerns. Inside the Minnesota courtroom, the parents of Katherine Olson sat across the aisle from the parents of Michael Anderson as though they were in a wedding they never wanted. Surrounding them were more Olson family members, friends, parishioners from Rolf's church and law-enforcement personnel involved with the case. The seat gallery was filled to capacity.

Michael Anderson entered the courtroom in a blue suit and kept to himself as his attorney, Alan Margoles, detailed his sex life. He had no girlfriend, never dated, never went to a high school dance and never held a girl's hand. Margoles wanted to show that his client lured Katherine to the home in Savage for sex, and not, as prosecutors put forth, with the intention to kill. The opening day saw Nancy Olson take the stand to tell the jury about the final time she saw her daughter.

It was when Katherine was singing in the church choir. The next day, Barbara Anderson took the stand to talk about her son.

The soft-spoken mother wore her hair parted in the center, and politely detailed how, on the day of the murder, Michael had come home from work just like any other day. Prior to the hearing, Craigslist had helped law enforcement by assembling a page dossier on Michael Anderson's use of the website.

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