One thing is for sure, if a story reported yesterday is accurate, Henry McMaster, the attorney general for South Carolina is no expert at fighting prostitution.
Earlier this month, McMaster threatened Craigslist with criminal prosecution if the online classifieds site, did not do more to remove prostitution ads on its site. But according to a report by The Associated Press, McMaster said Thursday he has "never handled a single such case in more than six years as the state's top prosecutor."
"I don't think this office has handled any prostitution prosecutions ever," McMaster was quoted by the AP. "This is something different. This is against the biggest want ads Web site in the world."
McMaster and a number of other state attorneys general demanded in the past several weeks for Craigslist to close down the publication's "erotic" section. They claim the area was rife with solicitations for sex that often involved minors and people who forced into prostitution against their will.
Craigslist agreed to replace the erotic section with a new adult section and also began reviewing every ad to ensure it met with the site's terms of service before it appeared online. While Craigslist was trying to implement these new measures, McMaster once again issued a threat of prosecution against Craigslist and its managers.
The AP spoke to Ann Bartow, a professor of Internet law at the University of South Carolina's School of Law. She said: "McMaster's decision to take on Craigslist and not local newspapers that advertise escort services suggests political motivations."
Craigslist has always said that the site wascompared with many newspaper and competing online classified publications. McMaster, however argued that the volume of the prostitution ads made Craigslist a bigger threat.
"It is the vehicle ofin this country," McMaster told the AP. "They had been notified emphatically that those were prostitution ads."