If you aren’t BFFs with an escort, or a sex worker yourself, perhaps you don’t have much of a personal tie to Craigslist’s decision to shut down (or, “censor”) its adult services listings. But take it from a real life companion-for-hire: The move is a shitty one.
Rusty McMann, a Las Vegas escort who says he “gets almost all of his income providing time and companionship to consenting adults from around the world,” and who received 75 percent of his business through Craigslist, is among those whose very livelihoods are threatened by the move. As he writes in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed:
Do I think the world owes me a safe place to peddle my societally frowned upon if technically legal wares? Absolutely not.
Am I sick to death of heterosexual white male “Christians” making political hay off the backs of consenting adults who have made difficult choices with their eyes wide open, while leaving people these politicians have professed to help twisting in the wind? Damn skippy!
And I want to be clear: I hold those responsible for the sexual exploitation of children in the deepest contempt. If it were up to me, the pimps and johns who perpetrate these crimes would be fed alive to wild boars. This is exactly why this whole circus is so repulsive: It legitimizes the supposed moral superiority of these politicians to not-very-discerning voters while doing nothing to help catch the real bad guys.
But maybe Craigslist’s decision could benefit him?
Without Craigslist, I might actually have an easier time of finding the right venue to market my services. Over the past few years, as Craigslist has given in to these loudmouths, it has become increasingly more difficult (and expensive) to post ads for adult services. I and many of my colleagues would have left Craigslist a long time ago except for one thing: It’s where the customers were.
No matter how many other places I advertised, Craigslist remained the source of the majority of my clientele. So the big question is: Where are the clients going to go now? And if that’s what we pros are asking ourselves, what do you think is going through the minds at the FBI? Is it possible that one of their best resources for tracking the scum of the Earth was just taken from them?
Part of what made Craigslist so onerous for advertisers was the fact that every single adult services posting was screened – Craigslist claims by an attorney – for content. Ads were frequently rejected with no explanation. There was virtually no feedback, presumably because Craigslist didn’t want to be accused of “helping prostitutes.”
I’d point Rusty, then, to this handy Gawker guide to other places to buy (and, thus sell) sex on the web. I’d also suggest Rusty work on his rate: He charges just $150/hour, and while Vegas might be the land of opportunity for johns, that seems a little bit … discount.