American online classified advertising site, Craigslist, has been accused of facilitating the trafficking of women and children.
Two young women placed an advert in The Washington Post, appealing directly to the site's founder to act, claiming the site helped wreck their lives.
The ad. was partially paid for by Fair Fund, an organisation that works with women who say they have been sold for sex. A spokeswoman described Craigslist as: "the Wal-Mart of online sex trafficking"
The two women allege that they were sold through the site's adult services section to men who "paid to rape" them.
One of the women, MC, said: "All day, me and other girls sat with our laptops, pasting pictures and answering ads on Craigslist." She claimed the man who controlled her and other women, "made $1,500 a night selling my body, dragging me to Los Angeles, Houston, Little Rock – and on one trip to Las Vegas in the trunk of a car."
Addressing herself directly to Craig Newmark, the founder of the site, she wrote: "Craig we write this letter so you will know from our personal experiences how Craigslist makes horrific acts like this so easy to carry out … and the men who arrange them very rich."
She added: "I am 17 now, and my childhood memories aren't of my family, going to middle school, or dancing at the prom. They are of 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."
A second woman, AK, said she was "sold for sex by the hour at truck stops and cheap motels, 10 hours with 10 different men every night. This became my life," she wrote in the advert. "Men answered the Craigslist advertisements and paid to rape me. The $30,000 he pocketed each month was facilitated by Craigslist 300 times."
The two women appealed to Newark asking he shut down the site's adult services section.
Pressure has been mounting on the small ads site over its adult section. On Friday, an attempt by Craigslist's lawyers to to block a criminal investigation over its "adult" services was thrown out by a federal judge.
Craigslist chief executive, Jim Buckmaster, has claimed the site is being made a scapegoat.
"Scapegoating advertising services is a very unfortunate misdirection of attention and energy from the tough choices, hard work, and significant investments required for addressing actual causes of, and making actual progress against the scourges of trafficking and child exploitation," he wrote in a letter to The Washington Post.