WA Senate passes bill to pressure sex ad sellers



OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington state Senate has unanimously passed a bill going after classified-advertising companies that don’t demand ID before allowing sex-related ads to be posted online.

Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, proponents of the bill said it would pressure companies selling sex-related ads online to verify the ages of those depicted.

The bill’s primary target is Backpage.com, which operates a robust online clearinghouse for sex escorts.

Federal law grants broad protections to websites for speech made by third parties.

Senator Adam Kline, a Seattle Democrat who helped craft the bill, said he expects Backpage.com to challenge any resulting prosecutions but believes they will ultimately be upheld by the courts.

The bill is one of 10 measures dealing with sex-trafficking being voted on in the Senate.