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  • Geebo 9:09 am on May 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Digital Sin City, , New York University, study, university of minnesota   

    Study: Craigslist caused a surge in human trafficking 

    Study: Craigslist caused a surge in human trafficking

    Ever since craigslist stopped hosting adult ads, and even more since the seizure of Backpage, a number of people have said without these sites it will be more difficult for law enforcement to find and rescue the victims of human trafficking. However, because of sites like craigslist and Backpage human trafficking increased in whatever market these sites entered. That is according to a new joint study published by both the University of Minnesota and New York University.

    According to the study entitled “The Digital Sin City: An Empirical Study of Craigslist’s Impact on Prostitution Trends”, researchers found that in a period between 1999 to 2008, anytime craigslist entered a community, prostitution and human trafficking activity would increase. While the study said this included ‘consensual’ sex workers it also noted that craigslist led to a greater criminal exploitation of human trafficking victims. The study even mentions that the outdated section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1999 is what kept this exploitation going.

    Sites like craigslist and Backpage cannot be both the cause of and solution to human trafficking simultaneously. At some point, the line has to be drawn to keep future victims from being bought and sold into sexual slavery. While some traffickers may be forced underground laws like FOSTA will cause a massive drop in online trafficking since women and children will no longer be able to be peddled in such a blatant manner.

     
  • Greg Collier 2:43 pm on March 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cornell University, , New York University, , University of Maryland   

    Why Does Craigslist Make It Easy for Scammers to Find Victims? 

    Scams have long been – and probably always be – a part of our lives. From the smooth-talking snake oil salesmen of yesteryear to the Bernie Madoff schemes of a new generation, this criminal element has long preyed on the naive, the trusting types who buy into bargains that sound too good to be true because they are.

    Over the years, scammers have had to be quick on their feet, ready to run from a spurned customer looking for revenge or to skip town ahead of a sheriff with an arrest warrant. Today, the anonymity of the Internet allows scammers to not only avoid personal contact but also cast a wider net to a greater pool of victims under the guise of many different personas.

    It’s no surprise that thousands of those ads appear on craigslist. And it should also come as no surprise that craigslist does a poor job of identifying and removing those ads in a timely manner, leaving the door open for even more victims hours after ads are flagged.

    That’s according to a study jointly conducted at University of Maryland, New York University and Cornell University that closely examined the rental listings in 20 cities over a 141-day period to identify scams. In all, the researchers put together a series of formulas that was able to detect and identify about 29,000 scam listings, many of which followed patterns that made identifying them that much easier.

    That’s both good news and bad news. It’s good news because the researchers were able, in a short period of time, to produce a solution that could rid craigslist of many of these ads, saving some of its visitors from being exposed to them. The bad news is that a study of craigslist’s filtering and flagging systems for removing the ads was determined to be ineffective, with less than half of the ads identified by the research team actually being removed by craigslist during the test period.

    In a 18-page report, the research team explains that, while craigslist filtering system for taking down scam ads is largely inefficient, there are other ways that the site could take down and deter the scammers, including government fines for deceptive advertising or working with the credit card companies to stop them from collecting funds. Without the ability to collect money from unsuspecting victims, the scam itself is no longer worth the effort.

    But counting on craigslist to do the right thing, or to invest any real time or energy into making the site safer, is probably a long shot.

    At Geebo, we do our best to be proactive against scams, largely by partnering with many other sites so that we only post legitimate ads from known sources, whether home listings or cars for sale. Likewise, I have devoted a page on geebo.com to tips on how to avoid being a victim of a scam.

    At the end of the day, there will always be scammers and there will always be the types who fall for the scams, possibly because they’re naive or simply too trusting. One of the most important tips I provide my visitors is to follow their gut instincts – even if it means passing up a great deal or the perfect home. Your instinct will tell you that wiring thousands of dollars to a landlord who’s currently out of the country is probably a bad idea. Likewise, jumping through hoops to get an inside peek at an apartment should be a red flag.

    Neither I, nor craigslist, can offer a 100 percent guarantee that an ad isn’t a scam. Those types of criminals are creative and are always finding ways to get one over. But we can do our parts to make it harder for scammers to infiltrate our sites.

    Now that a team of university researchers have identified how to do that, we’ll see if craigslist takes action to make its site safer.

     
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