HARTFORD, Conn. -- Craigs- list should remove its adult services section because the website cannot adequately block potentially illegal ads promoting prostitution and child trafficking, attorneys general in 17 states, including South Carolina, demanded Tuesday in a joint letter.

"Only Craigslist has the power to stop these ads before they are even published," said Kansas Attorney General Steve Six in a statement Tuesday. "Sadly, they are completely unwilling to do so."

The letter acknowledged Craigslist faces the prospect of losing revenue if it were to remove the adult section.

"No amount of money, however, can justify the scourge of illegal prostitution and the suffering of the women and children who will continue to be victimized, in the market and trafficking provided by Craigslist," the letter said.

Craigslist supports states' efforts to stop illegal exploitation, spokeswoman Susan MacTavish Best said in a statement that did not indicate whether the website plans to get rid of its adult services section.

"We hope to work closely with them, as we are with experts at nonprofits and in law enforcement, to prevent misuse of our site in facilitation of trafficking," she said.

Some encounters set up through Craigslist have ended in violence and even death, authorities have said.

Last week, authorities said a former medical student accused of killing a masseuse he met through Craigslist committed suicide in the Boston jail where he was awaiting trial.

Philip Markoff, 24, was found unresponsive in his cell Aug. 15. A former Boston University student, Markoff had pleaded not guilty in the fatal shooting of Julissa Brisman of New York City and in the armed robbery of a Las Vegas woman. Both crimes happened at Boston hotels within four days in April 2009. Rhode Island prosecutors also accused him of attacking a stripper that week.

Markoff had met the women through advertisements for erotic services posted on Craigs- list.