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Craigslist removes global adult services listings

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HARTFORD, CONN. (AP) - Craigslist has confirmed that it removed its controversial adult services section from its international sites, Connecticut's attorney general said Tuesday, four months after it did the same for its U.S. sites.

The U.S. move in September came under pressure from officials, including Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, over whether Craigslist was adequately policing illegal ads.

Blumenthal, who is also a U.S. Senator-elect, says Craigslist representatives confirmed to his office Tuesday that it had removed erotic services listings from hundreds of sites in dozens of other countries.

Representatives of San Francisco-based Craigslist did not immediately return messages Tuesday about when the change went into effect. The removal was first reported on Wired magazine's website.

Blumenthal called the company's decision a victory against sexual exploitation of women and children, and against human trafficking connected to prostitution.

"This move is another important step in the ongoing fight to more effectively screen and stop pernicious prostitution ads," he said.

Craigslist replaced the adult services section's link on United States sites with a black-and-white "censored" bar on Sept. 4 after Blumenthal and 16 other state attorneys general sent a joint letter to the website demanding its removal.

A Craigslist official told U.S. lawmakers during a House Judiciary Committee panel a few weeks later that the website has no plans to resume its adult services section.

Craigslist, which is largely free, has been under prosecutors' scrutiny for years. It tried to police the postings on its adult services page by charging a fee to post the ads and requiring them to be vetted and approved.

The section carried ads for a variety of erotic services, including personal massages and a night's companionship, which critics say veered into prostitution.

The website has also come under increased scrutiny since the September jailhouse suicide of 24-year-old Philip Markoff, a former Boston University student.

Markoff was awaiting trial for the fatal shooting of Julissa Brisman of New York City and the armed robbery of a Las Vegas woman. Rhode Island prosecutors also accused him of attacking a stripper.

Markoff had met the women through ads for erotic services posted on Craigslist.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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