Backpage.com sues over Wash. sex-trafficking law

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SEATTLE (AP) -- The website Backpage.com is suing the state of Washington, saying a new law that would require classified advertising companies to verify the ages of people in sex-related advertisements is invalid.

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the bill into law this year in an effort to cut down on child sex trafficking.

Backpage operates a robust online clearinghouse for escorts, and it's a primary target of the law. But the website sued in federal court in Seattle to block the law from taking effect this week.

Backpage argues that the law is trumped by the federal Communications Decency Act, which says online service providers are not responsible for the content of ads placed by third parties. Backpage also says Washington's law is unconstitutionally vague.

The company says it finds child sex trafficking abhorrent, but there are better ways to combat it.