48 mayors join Seattle's fight against Backpages.com

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 7, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Updated Monday, May 7 at 6:25 PM

SEATTLE -- Seattle's fight against the online adult ads known as Backpages.com intensifies, and Mayor Mike McGinn has a bigger army for that fight.

At news conference on Monday, McGinn announced mayors of 48 U.S. cities, including Los Angeles and New York,  have joined the effort against Backpages.com.

McGinn has written a letter to Backpages.com, urging them to stop advertising minors for sex trafficking. The 48 other mayors will be writing similar letters of their own to the online adult advertiser.

At the news conference Monday, Seattle police said they rescued a Seattle-area 17-year-old who had been pimped on Backpages.com.

Washington state Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles - (D) Seattle and McGinn also expressed anger over an op-ed published Monday in The Seattle Times by a Backpages.com attorney, who said the company is an ally of fighting human trafficking.

"For Backpage.com to refer to itself as an ally in fighting human trafficking, to me, is like having a pimp say that he is guardian or protector of a minor. It's crazy," said Kohl-Welles.

Kohl-Welles and McGinn want to require Backpages.com to do in-person age identification before they will run an ad for an escort. Kohl-Welles was able to get a law passed that takes effect in June in which Backpages.com could face felony charges if a girl is not identified by them in person without an ID.

Seattle police claim they have rescued 24 girls who have been advertised on Backpages.com.

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