Washington state senators unanimously passed a measure to ask Congress to hold internet service providers liable when websites promote the sexual exploitation of minors. Nicole Vukonich reports. (TRT: 1:17) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD


The Washington State Senate today passed a measure to urge the President and Congress to amend the federal Communications Decency Act to reflect the current power and reach of the internet. It asks that we hold internet service providers liable when they knowingly advertise the sexual exploitation of children through the sale of adult escort advertisements. Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles has been a strong advocate against child and human trafficking for many years and thinks the federal act needs to be updated.

Sen. Kohl-Welles: (TRT: 23 ) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “It was created in 1996 before the internet really took hold and before we started seeing websites such as backpage.com that clearly exploit minors on their websites. A minor can be sold for sex because there’s no verification of age when people take out ads.”

In 2012, the Legislature unanimously adopted legislation that was signed into law and would have held these advertisers accountable for any ad depicting children. A lawsuit was filed against the state and a federal judge ruled that the law conflicted with the federal Communications Decency Act and was therefore not valid. The measure that passed today will go to the House of Representatives for consideration before heading to the President and Congress.