OLYMPIA -- Governor Christine Gregoire signed a number of bills Thursday that will make it tougher for pimps to sell underage girls for sex online.
Mom of a sex slave: 'My daughter's been to hell and back'
Governor Christine Gregoire signed a number of bills Thursday that will make it tougher for pimps to sell underage girls for sex online.
Nacole, who never thought she had to worry about child sex trafficking, is proof it can happen to any family.
My daughter was a star soccer player and a violinist, said Nacole who does not want her last name published.
If this can happen to my daughter, it can happen to your daughter, Nacole said.
Nacole is proud of her daughter, but she's afraid of showing her picture because it might put her life at risk.
I had a daughter that was sold on Backpage.com for 108 days, she said.
Two years ago, the online classified website Backpage.com featured her then 15-year-old girl as an 18-year-old woman in a personal escort ad. The girl was eventually arrested for prostitution. A pimp forced her into it.
She made the decision to run away from home and ended up in the wrong car with the wrong person, said Nacole.
Since then, Nacole has been helping her daughter recover while working to get lawmakers to protect children.
The sexual exploitation of minors is very prevalent in this state and very profitable, she said.
The governor signed a dozen bills dealing with child sex trafficking Thursday. Punishments get tougher for Johns and pimps. Minors forced into the trade can now have their records cleared.
And in an issue close to Nacole's heart, publications and websites now need proof of someone's age, so children cannot be featured in advertisements with just a click saying they're 18.
If you re going to run an adult escort service let s make sure the people advertised are adults, said Nacole.
Nacole's daughter struggles with her past, but she's in college now trying to move on.
Today my daughter is my hero, she s the reason I m here, said Nacole.
Village Voice media owns Backpage.com and the Seattle Weekly among other publications.
The company has raised censorship concerns about age verification and claim they've helped identify pimps who tried to post illegal ads.
Last year this issue caused Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn to pull all City of Seattle advertisements from the Seattle Weekly.
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