OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has a new ally in his battle against Backpage.com. A senate bill would hold publications responsible if they knowingly feature minors in personal ads.
Backpage.com has been linked to child prostitution cases. Last summer, that prompted McGinn to pull all city advertising from the Seattle Weekly, which is owned by Village Voice Media, the owner of Backpage.com.
Lawmakers, backed by prosecutors and police, testified Friday that pimps can easily post ads for underage women who appear to be over 18, by making one click on the website.
A proposed bill would require websites get proof of a person's age before any personal ad can be posted.
The law would give police the power to go after publications that post ads featuring minors.
No one testified against the bill.
Nacole, a mother from King County, testified in favor of it and other bills that would strengthen child prostitution laws.
She does not want her last name published because she said her daughter worked as a prostitute on backpage.com when she was 15.
"Here we are a year and a half later, and my daughter continues to have counseling," Nacole told lawmakers Friday afternoon.
"When my daughter's pimp was convicted I swore I would do everything I could to make sure this wouldn't happen to another child," said Nacole.