#minorsextrafficking | Truth behind Prince Harry’s new role at Aspen funded by Craigslist and its past sex trafficking controversy

Within two days of landing his first job at the Silicon Valley startup BetterUp as the Chief Impact Officer, Prince Harry was offered a second job opportunity — at the Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder. According to reports, he joined a team of 14 experts — which also includes Rupert Murdoch’s daughter-in-law Kathryn — for a six-month study on the spread of misinformation and disinformation in America.

The dark truth behind the newly constituted commission has now surfaced. The commission — set to survey the information disorder problem — is fully funded by Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the giving organization of the founder of Craigslist, who is also a member of the Cyber Group, a press release read. Reports claim that in the past, Craigslist had been linked to adult content seeking romance or sexual connections.

Back in 2018, the New York Times reported that it removed its “personals” section after Congress sent a bill to former President Donald Trump aimed at curtailing sex trafficking.


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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (Getty Images)

Past controversies around Craigslist

For many years since its launch, the “personals” ad section of Craigslist was embroiled with controversies. Many victims have come forward with tragic stories after being duped into prostitution through Craigslist advertisements. In 2019, a woman — identified by the initials M.L. — from Washington accused and sued Craigslist-San Francisco, along with major hotel chains. She alleged they knew their businesses were being used to promote, protect and profit from child rape and sexual exploitation.

Way back in August 2010, Malika Saada Saar wrote a report for CNN and told the story of two girls. “I was first forced into prostitution when I was 11 years old by a 28-year-old man,” a girl identified by initials M.C. wrote. “I am not an exception. The man who trafficked me sold many girls my age, his house was called ‘Daddy Day Care.’” She also said, “He made $1,500 a night selling my body, dragging me to Los Angeles, Houston, Little Rock — and one trip to Las Vegas in the trunk of a car… They are making my own arrangements on Craigslist to be sold for sex, and answering as many ads as possible for fear of beatings and ice water baths.”

The next year, in 2011, a report titled ‘Human Trafficking Online: The Role of Social Networking Sites and Online Classifieds’ was published by the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy. The study provided detailed cases of multiple sex offenders who admitted to creating Craigslist postings for commercial sex that exploited young women and girls. The study enlists instances where young women, often in their teens, were discovered to offering sexual services in the Erotic Services section of Craigslist. 

Craig Newmark (Getty Images)

What was Craiglist’s stance on the scandals?

“While Craigslist was the most frequently referenced website in the cases reviewed, the ‘Adult Services’ section of the site has since closed,” the report added. Explaining why they shut down the “personals” ad section, the company says it made the change because Congress had passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, meant to crack down on sex trafficking of children. 

“Any tool or service can be misused,” Craigslist said at the time. “We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully, we can bring them back some day.” 

From 2014 to 2018, writer Helena Bala ran a series called ‘Craigslist Confessional’, where she met with people via Craigslist and documented their heartbreaking stories — including stories of subjects who were victims of sex trafficking. In face of the allegations, Craigslist reportedly cooperated with the FBI in combatting human trafficking. In fact, in 2015, Newmark received an award from the FBI in recognition of their undisclosed cooperation in this matter, American Banker reported. 

Craigslist (Getty Images)


Is Craiglist connected to the Commission on Information Disorder?

Although funded by Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist is not on the Commission on Information Disorder, which will soon see Harry as a prime member. The present team is co-chaired by renowned journalist Katie Couric, cybersecurity expert Chris Krebs — the founding director of DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA); and racial equity leader Rashad Robinson — the president of Color Of Change.

The three co-chairs will be joined by 15 commissioners from across the political spectrum, including national security leader Sue Gordon — the former principal deputy director of national intelligence. Elected officials Aaron Ford, Nevada’s attorney general, and former Texas congressman Will Hurd are on the list too. It also mentions threat researchers and academics Yasmin Green of Jigsaw, Herb Lin of Stanford University, and Kate Starbird of the University of Washington.

Others on the team are technology thinkers Safiya Umoja Noble of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, Deb Roy of the MIT Center for Constructive Communication and Cortico, and Alex Stamos of the Stanford Internet Observatory; civil society and media leaders Jameel Jaffer of Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute, Garry Kasparov of Renew Democracy Initiative, and Amanda Zamora of The 19th; as well as philanthropic leaders Marla Blow, incoming president of the Skoll Foundation, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, co-founder of Archewell, and Kathryn Murdoch, co-founder and president of Quadrivium.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (Getty Images)

‘Well done Harry enjoy the blood money!’ 

Ever since the news about Harry’s new role surfaced, Internet users have criticized him vehemently for the Commission’s indirect connections with human trafficking. 

One user tweeted, “Who is going to tell Prince Harry that his new side hustle with Katie Couric’s, Rashad Robinson’s, and Chris Krebs’s Aspen Institute is backed by (money emoji) from Craig Newmark Philanthropies (aka Craigslist) — which has been sued for enabling AND profiting from sex trafficking?”

Another wrote, “#PrinceHarry working for the guy who created a sales page that allows child sex trafficking & does fudge all to stop it but simply gains a profit from it. Well done Harry enjoy the blood money! #craigslist.”


A group of Twitter users has also slammed Harry for joining a commission funded by a ‘pro-Biden’ billionaire. 

“Craig Newmark, the billionaire founder of Craigslist is a disinformation campaigner! Remember, liberals call things the total opposite of what they really are. Prince Harry joins ‘misinformation’ commission funded by pro-Biden billionaire,” one user tweeted, while another wrote, “Prince Harry Joins ‘Misinformation’ Commission Funded By Pro-Biden Billionaire Craig Newmark. Newmark has funded other dubious projects that smear conservatives. An ex-Facebook exec who supports de-platforming conservative networks is on the commission.”



Harry is yet to comment on his new role at the commission or address the controversial past of Craigslist. 

This article contains remarks made by social media users and individual organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and does not support any claims being made online.

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