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Sex worker says Craigslist changes won't stop prostitution

Attempts to repress sexuality have failed for centuries, says Catherine, a San Francisco sex worker. If Craigslist bars sex workers then she says people will just move elsewhere.

Catherine, a 35-year-old sex worker in San Francisco, is disgusted with U.S. lawmakers for demanding that Craigslist abolish the "erotic services" section.

Craig Newmark, Craigslist founder

She says she knew something was amiss on Monday when she attempted to post an ad, offering a massage with "a happy ending." Catherine, who posts on Craigslist about eight times a month, was prevented from posting and couldn't understand why.

"This is ridiculous," Catherine told CNET News. "It is a sign of an immature society to repress sexuality. You're going to create more violence by doing this. The more you repress or distort sexuality, the more problems you create." She described the move by the state attorneys general as "completely incompetent."

Craig Newmark, the man who founded Craigslist, said less than a month ago that there were no plans to dump the erotic-services category. But on Wednesday, the site announced that the Web classifieds publication will do away with its controversial "erotic services" section and replace it with a new "adult services" section. The biggest difference between them will be that for the first time all text and photos will be manually reviewed before they are posted in adult services.

Catherine, who has lived in the United States for 10 years, spoke with CNET News on the condition that she would remain anonymous. She asked to be identified in the article as "Catherine," after the actress, Catherine Deneuve, who played the role of a young housewife moonlighting as a prostitute in the film "Belle de Jour."

She said she can't believe that anyone would think shutting down Craigslist's erotic-services section will prevent prostitution. She said that people like her will attempt to post ads that will avoid detection by the human screeners. If that fails, she predicts that people will go to sites like or elsewhere.

"I spoke with one of my clients," Catherine said. "The man is a bank official and he was devastated when he heard (the Craigslist) news."