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Congress is set to hold hearings Wednesday on the sex trafficking of minors, and among the witnesses will be a representative from Craigslist. The online-classifieds company recently shut down the adult-services section of its website after repeated threats from state law enforcement officials.

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Greg Albin, a member of the vice squad in San Jose, Calif. Albin says if shutting the Craigslist down saves one child from prostitution, that's great. But, he adds: "I don't think [that's] going to be the answer, because people will work around it.

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In fact, Albin says, they already are. For example, he says a website called Craigslisterotics. And online-safety advocates, Parry Aftab of Wired Safety among them, are expecting even more sites to pop up. There are also plenty of for sexual services that can be found on major commercial websites other than Craigslist -- Google and eBay, to start with.

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But Albin says the big companies aren't that helpful: "None of them go over and above to cooperate with police investigations. All of them rely on their First Amendment rights.

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All of the major online companies say they don't allow for sex. But search Google for local escort services, and chances are dozens of sponsored links -- all powered by a Google-run ad network -- will pop up, with headlines like "Sugar Daddy for Me" and "Meet Real Naughty Women Tonight. A company spokesperson said Google screens with a combination of automated technologies and human review, but things slip through the cracks.

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The Spanish-language site Loquo has for sex -- although eBay, its parent, says it's going to take them down. Village Voice Media, whose Back. Malika Saada Saar, executive director of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, says the Internet has increased the sex trade in minors.

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Pimps once had to put young girls on the street where it was easier for police to spot if they were underage. Saada Saar estimates that as many asminors each year are being trafficked into the sex trade in the U. And unfortunately, says Albin, it isn't easy to spot which are pimping minors. Because that would be the most important issue.

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Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal spearheaded an ultimately successful effort by some 40 state attorneys general to get Craigslist to shutter its adult-services section. And "we have other sites in our sights, so to speak," Blumenthal says -- meaning he's in discussions with many other companies, though he wouldn't say which ones.

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Craigslist and other websites are largely protected from liability by the Communications Decency Act ofwhich exempts site owners from legal responsibility for what their users and others put up. But at least a few legal analysts point to another law, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which might make sites liable if they make money off for illegal services.

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Still, some online-safety advocates like Aftab think the attacks by the attorneys general on legitimate companies such as Craigslist are misguided. And even law enforcement officials admit that quashing illegal services is like playing a game of Whac-A-Mole: Every time you shut down one site, they say, another one pops up.

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