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July 22, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Weekly editor: backpage.com helps police by attracting predators

Posted by Emily Heffter

I just listened to Thursday's KUOW interview with Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle Weekly Editor Mike Seely.

The two were discussing McGinn's recent order to suspend all city advertising in the Weekly until it institutes stricter policies about ads promoting child prostitution on its website.

At the 15-minute mark, Seely argues that his company's classifieds site, backpage.com, is performing a public service by making it easier for police to find pimps and child prostitutes.

Here's a quick transcript of the exchange:

SEELY: I believe that if you got rid of backpage.com, you'd make law enforcement's job that much harder.
It's kind of like if you've got fruit flies in your house. Are you more effective running around the house clapping? Clapping at them and trying to get rid of them? Or putting out a bowl of fruit and attracting them? That's kind of what it boils down to.

HOST STEVE SCHER: You see backpage.com as a place that's attracting predators or exploited young women, and therefore they can be more easily arrested?

SEELY: That's absolutely accurate. It's not like we want those type of people on backpage.com but we acknowledge that some criminals are determined enough to break any type of system.

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