State of Washington62nd Legislature2012 Regular Session

By Senate Judiciary (originally sponsored by Senators Kohl-Welles, Delvin, Eide, Chase, Pflug, Conway, Kline, Ranker, Stevens, Fraser, Regala, Nelson, Roach, and Frockt)

READ FIRST TIME 02/02/12.   

     AN ACT Relating to advertising commercial sexual abuse of a minor; adding a new section to chapter 9.68A RCW; creating new sections; and prescribing penalties.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   The legislature finds it unacceptable that Washington's children are being sold for sex in advertisements. A 2008 Seattle human services department report estimated that there are three hundred to five hundred children being exploited for sex in the Seattle area alone each year. The legislature finds that the practice of escort services advertising includes minors who are being sold for sex, a form of sex trafficking and commercial sexual abuse of minors. According to the Seattle police department, since the beginning of 2010, at least twenty-two children have been advertised online in the Seattle area for commercial sex and were recovered by the police department. The legislature is committed to eliminating sex trafficking of minors in a manner consistent with federal laws prohibiting sexual exploitation of children.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2   A new section is added to chapter 9.68A RCW to read as follows:
     (1) A person commits the offense of advertising commercial sexual abuse of a minor if he or she knowingly publishes, disseminates, or displays, or causes directly or indirectly, to be published, disseminated, or displayed, any advertisement for a commercial sex act, which is to take place in the state of Washington and that includes the depiction of a minor.
     (a) "Advertisement for a commercial sex act" means any advertisement or offer in electronic or print media, which includes either an explicit or implicit offer for a commercial sex act to occur in Washington.
     (b) "Commercial sex act" means any act of sexual contact or sexual intercourse, both as defined in chapter 9A.44 RCW, for which something of value is given or received by any person.
     (c) "Depiction" as used in this section means any photograph or visual or printed matter as defined in RCW 9.68A.011 (2) and (3).
     (2) In a prosecution under this statute it is not a defense that the defendant did not know the age of the minor depicted in the advertisement. It is a defense, which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant made a reasonable bona fide attempt to ascertain the true age of the minor depicted in the advertisement by requiring, prior to publication, dissemination, or display of the advertisement, production of a driver's license, marriage license, birth certificate, or other governmental or educational identification card or paper of the minor depicted in the advertisement and did not rely solely on oral or written representations of the minor's age, or the apparent age of the minor as depicted. In order to invoke the defense, the defendant must produce for inspection by law enforcement a record of the identification used to verify the age of the person depicted in the advertisement.
     (3) Advertising commercial sexual abuse of a minor is a class C felony.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3   If any part of this act is found to be in conflict with federal requirements that are a prescribed condition to the allocation of federal funds to the state, the conflicting part of this act is inoperative solely to the extent of the conflict and with respect to the agencies directly affected, and this finding does not affect the operation of the remainder of this act in its application to the agencies concerned. Rules adopted under this act must meet federal requirements that are a necessary condition to the receipt of federal funds by the state.

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