Mayor Mike McGinn today called on Village Voice Media to meet with him and the Seattle Police Department to discuss strengthening their policies against underage sex trafficking in their print and online advertisements. “This is a serious and disturbing issue. We’ve received a growing number of reports that Backpage.com is being used to exploit children,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “It’s just wrong. We’re asking them and other sites to meet with us to find ways to protect children from exploitation and help keep our communities safe.” The Seattle Police Department has identified the use of the adult services section of Backpage.com as a contributor to the problem of child exploitation. Specifically, they are an “accelerant” of underage sex trafficking. The problem exists in both the print and online version of the Backpage.com service. Underage sex trafficking is a growing problem in Seattle and around the country. A 2008 report from the City of Seattle’s Human Services Department estimated 300-500 children under the age of 18 are being exploited for commercial sex in Seattle and King County. Children as young as twelve have been exploited and runaways are particularly vulnerable. The report noted that the internet has been increasingly used for sexual exploitation. For the full text of the news release click here.