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Wash. Governor Signs Bill Seeking to Stop Underage Escort Ads; Backpage.com Cites Federal Protection

Posted Apr 2, 2012 7:09 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire has signed a first-of-its-kind law that tackles child sex trafficking through regulation of advertising.

The law requires websites and print publications that advertise escort services to get documentation that the escorts are at least 18, according to the Seattle Times and the New York Times. The law makes it a crime for classified advertising representatives to publish escort ads without making a good-faith attempt to verify ages, the Seattle Times says.

The law is primarily aimed at Backpage.com and its escort advertising. Lawyers for corporate owner Village Voice Media say the law conflicts with the federal Communications Decency Act, which protects websites that post content by third parties.

Connecticut is among other states considering similar legislation, the New York Times says.

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