Three young women who say they were sold online for sex have filed a lawsuit against Backpage.com, claiming they were forced into child prostitution and that website's owners did nothing to stop it.
The lawsuit was filed in Pierce County Superior court. Records state one ad promoted one of the girls as the “80 DOLLAR DAY SPECIAL.”
At the time, two of the girls were in the seventh grade and one was in the ninth grade; all three had apparently run away from home.
All three teens claim Village Voice Media, owners of Backpage.com, know the website is used for prostitution and that they require advertising specifics in order to avoid being caught by law enforcement.
An attorney for Backpage.com says the lawsuit will not stand up in court and is barred by federal law.
A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Friday to block enforcement of a new Washington state law that would require classified advertising companies to verify the ages of people in sex-related advertisements.
Backpage.com was the main target of the new law.
Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the law this year to cut down on child sex trafficking. The law that had been scheduled to take effect in June received unanimous approval from the Legislature.
The decision issued by U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo S. Martinez is temporary, until the case can be heard in court.
Story compiled by KING 5's Travis Pittman