Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Selling/Giving away Children on Craigslist

This morning, as I was searching the CNN.com Web site, I saw a video clip about a five year old boy who was posted on Craigslist by his estranged father. The post ran, “Free to good home, 5 year old boy.”

In a November 11 article by Ben Charny on eweek.com the writer said that an ad posted by a California woman who was attempting to sell her four year old daughter for five hundred dollars was still posted on Craigslist days later.

Charny reported, “Craigslist founder Craig Newmark said the Martinez Police never contacted the company during their investigation, which led to the woman's arrest Tuesday on child soliciting charges.”

When law enforcement was questioned about contacting the site, Charny said “It may not have been necessary in this case. Plus, in general, law enforcers still chafe at the plodding pace of Internet companies acting upon official, or unofficial, requests for help or information. Often, it just isn't worth the wait.”

What else is being sold on popular Internet Web sites, and how can webmasters help prevent transactions like this from happening in the future? What will prevent people from selling sex, drugs, or stolen organs? Should there be more checks and balances on sites like Craigslist that give users complete control and power over information and ads posted online?

To watch the video, click the "More Law Video" tab to watch the on the CNN.com Law section.

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