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Online marketplace Craigslist is under mounting pressure over the "adult services" section of its site. Critics say posts on this section are little more than thinly disguised adverts for sex and "facilitate trafficking". In a paid-for advert in The Washington Post, two women made a direct appeal to the site's founder, saying it wrecked their lives.

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A spokesman for Craigslist said the site was being made a "scapegoat". They are of making my own arrangements on Craigslist to be sold for sex, and answering as many as possible for fear of beatings and ice water baths. The letter said that Craigslist was now the choice of traffickers because it was "so well known and there are rarely consequences to using it for these illegal acts".

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Connecticut's attorney general Richard Blumenthal - who is heading up a group of 39 US states examining Craigslist's adult services section - called on the section to be closed. Earlier this year, the US lawmaker subpoenaed Craigslist, and asked whether it "is actually profiting from prostitution that it promised the states and public that it would try to block.

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The firm's chief executive, Jim Buckmaster, wrote to the Washington Post saying that his firm was the wrong target. Andrea Powell, head of Fair Fund - a group that works with women who have been sold for sex and one of the groups which paid for the advert in the Washington Post - described Craigslist as "the Wal-Mart of online sex trafficking".

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They don't talk about other sites. The advert in The Washington Post echoes another letter published earlier this year.

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US 'failing' on child prostitution. Craigslist ditches erotic adverts.

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Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has yet to make an official reply to the open letter. Not enough.

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Critics said this did not go far enough. Published 9 August Published 14 May Published 18 May Published 21 May Published 23 April FAIR Fund.

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