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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Craigslist.com has dropped its "adult services" listings, which have become the target of U.S. state attorneys general who say the much-visited online classified ad site is not doing enough to quash prostitution.
Last year, Craigslist replaced its "erotic services" ads with a new "adult" category it said would be closely screened.
The move came after a masseuse who offered her services on Craigslist was killed and a client was charged with her murder. The man charged in the case committed suicide last month in a Boston prison cell.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is co-leading a group of states attorneys general looking into the company's efforts to purge illegal ads from it site.
The private company could be earning $36.3 million or more a year from prostitution and human trafficking, Blumenthal said at the time, citing published reports.
In a May blog post, Craigslist Chief Executive Jim Buckmaster wrote that "... Craigslist has gone beyond fulfilling its legal obligations, far beyond classifieds industry norms, has more than lived up to any promises it made, and working together with its partners is in fact a leader in the fight against human trafficking and exploitation."
Company spokespeople could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday.
Craigslist has said it had donated all revenues from its "erotic services" listings to charity. When it switched to its "adult services" listings last year it said it would make no commitment to how those revenues would be used.
The online site says it is used by over 50 million people in the United States, with over 20 billion monthly page views.
Buckmaster has claimed Craigslist is unfairly targeted for its adult services advertisements while those posted in major newspapers are ignored.
EBay Inc is a part owner of Craigslist but the two companies are currently fighting over eBay's true stake. EBay paid about $32 million for a 28.4 percent stake in Craigslist in 2004, but later accused the company of diluting its stake.
EBay and Craiglist are awaiting a ruling in that matter from the Delaware Chancery Court.
Reporting by Deena Beasley; editing by Todd Eastham