Advocate Indeed

by

Malika Saada Saar,

We saw your performance on CNN, and have read your recent letter.

You claim to be “appalled that [craigslist is] requesting the police reports from young victims as proof of their trauma.”

As you must know, because it was quite clear in my letter to you, we asked for the police reports for the **perpetrators** of these crimes, not for personal information about the victims.

We are stunned and appalled that, as an “advocate” for these young victims, you have chosen to provide the case information from the District Court of Maryland for one of the victims to CNN for display to its mass television audience and to the users of its website.

What possible reason could there be for doing such a thing? The case number was clearly displayed, and by doing so you have made the victim’s full name and other very personal details easily accessible to anyone who wants to look up her case, including to the criminals who victimized her.

For the victim’s sake, please work with CNN immediately to properly redact this court record (which we did not ask for), before the victim’s misfortunes are further compounded by your error in judgement, as well as CNN’s error in judgement in actually broadcasting this information.

In our view, victims of such crimes should not be arrested in the first place. It seems wrong to treat as a criminal the very victim of such a crime. In fact the case report you publicized reveals trial is pending against one of the victims, which seems very unfortunate indeed.

Returning to your conduct, that an “advocate” would display zero interest in the actual criminals who exploited these victims, or in the fact that the victims themselves are now being treated as criminals, choosing to focus instead exclusively on craigslist, strikes us as misguided at best. Obviously your financial backers had a very particular purpose in mind.

Regardless of what you believe about those issues however, we would like to think you would wholeheartedly agree that an “advocate” should not be gratuitously publicizing victims’ personal records for the “advocate’s” own purposes. Please address this critical error before it is too late.

Finally, please do respond to our request for the police reports of the criminals who you maintain misused craigslist in commercially exploiting these girls, so that we can make sure we have done everything possible to assist in bringing them to justice.

Although the person whose case information you displayed was actually nearly 19 at the time of her arrest according to the court record, and not underage as you had implied, and although these events took place before we implemented manual screening of ads, we would also like to be able to review these reports from the perspective of potentially further improving our preventitive measures.


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