“We issued this letter because this burgeoning industry, which affects 53% of all web users, has significant, growing problems involving human rights abuses, scams, and violent crime,” Collier said.“
McLean, VA (PRWEB) March 9, 2011
In an effort to combat the problems of human trafficking, prostitution and other crimes originating on online classified ad sites, Geebo’s founder and CEO is calling on his industry counterparts to adopt new safety guidelines for their sites.
In an open letter to the operators of other classifieds sites, Geebo CEO Greg Collier called on them to join him in implementing some screening and monitoring techniques to keep unsafe ads off of their sites and deter criminals from visiting.
“We issued this letter because this burgeoning industry, which affects 53% of all web users, has significant, growing problems involving human rights abuses, scams, and violent crime,” Collier said. “We want to help bring about change. We are issuing an invitation to other online classifieds businesses to take the same steps we have taken at Geebo to prevent human trafficking and crime online.”
Geebo - which is endorsed by a number of human rights organizations, including the Polaris Project, change.org and End Slavery Now - is a model for a Best Practices Guide established by the FAIR Fund, a Washington, D.C. organization focused on the preservation of human rights.
Some of the proactive steps that Geebo has taken - and is calling on others to adopt - include:
- Provide both automated and manual screening of all ads before they go live. Content on Geebo.com, for example, is screened through a proprietary filter that utilizes keyword lists developed by the Center for Missing and Exploited Children and various law enforcement agencies.
- Take a proactive approach to remove, reduce and prevent crime on the sites by reporting all suspicious activity to law enforcement agencies.
- Refuse all erotic and “adult” ads and instead provide support for positive family and community interactions. Geebo, for example, offers free postings to non-profit organizations and includes volunteer listings from VolunteerMatch.org.
Collier’s call-to-action stems from a growing number of headlines involving people who are killed, injured, robbed and otherwise victimized via online classified sites. At least one criminal - dubbed the “Craigslist Killer” - generated widespread publicity about the dangers of unmonitored classified sites.
In his open letter, Collier called on his counterparts to do their parts to deter criminals from hiding behind the anonymous nature of online classifieds sites and keep them from areas where responsible people are visiting to buy and sell goods and offer legitimate services. He also warned of what could happen if the site owners fail to take their own precautionary action.
“We all know that when an industry fails to protect its users from dangerous products and activities, the government steps in,” Colier said. “ None of us needs or wants such unnecessary regulation when we can take our own steps to deter criminals...”
“The Geebo.com businesses practices represent exactly the kind of responsible commitments that all companies should make to prevent children from being sexually exploited.”
--Carol Smolenski, Executive Director, ECPAT-USA
“Geebo understands the importance of business ethics and is not willing to compromise human dignity for a profit. Their commitment to screening ads and preventing human trafficking is commendable and should be the model for all classified websites to use.”
" Geebo.com… [is] a wonderful example of for-profit entities upholding ethics and principles of corporate social responsibility while adding value to the community."
--Aashika Damodar, Executive Director, Survivors Connect
Established in 2000, Geebo is a nationwide online classified ads site that prides itself in offering a safe haven to place and browse ads, largely because it reviews all ads before publishing them to ensure the content is appropriate. It was the first in its industry to remove personal ads from its site and boasts that it has never supported adult content, drug or gun sales. Geebo has been recognized by numerous human rights groups for its commitment to keeping the Internet safe. Geebo is based in McLean, VA.
Press contact information:
Greg Collier, CEO
888-439-3113 x 103
Amy Doherty, Communications