Wash. House passes bill pressuring sex ad sellers

Feb 27, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington state Legislature has passed a bill going after classified advertising companies that don't demand ID before allowing sex-related ads to be posted online. The measure is primarily targeted at Backpage.com.

The measure unanimously passed the House on Monday. The Senate passed the bill earlier this month, and it now goes to the governor for her signature.

Backpage.com operates a robust online clearinghouse for sex escorts. Critics estimate parent company Village Voice Media makes more than $22 million per year from sex-related ads, a figure the Phoenix-based company has not disputed. It owns 13 weekly newspapers, including Seattle Weekly.

The Seattle Police Department says it has linked 22 cases of child prostitution since 2010 to girls who were advertised as escorts on the website.