Washington state lawmakers want to ban overseas sex tours

Travel agents wouldn't be able to book or sell &to=http://english.pravda.ru/accidents/21/96/383/14637_pedophile.html' target=_blank>"sex tours" under a measure lawmakers are considering, following the lead of Hawaii, which signed a similar bill into law two years ago.

The law there was prompted by a complaint to state officials by Equality Now, a New York-based women's rights organization that said a Honolulu travel agency had placed explicit advertisements on a Web site that offered the "Ultimate Asian Sex Tour" to Thailand twice a year.

Arranging such tours would be a Class C felony, intended to crack down on sex tours to such places as Thailand. Violators would face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 (Ђ8,160).

Sen. Karen Fraser, the main sponsor of the bill, said she wants to help reduce the demand for such trips. While she said she wasn't aware of any Washington state travel agents offering such tours, she said the state needs to take a pre-emptive stand.

"It is a global moral issue, and we should take every step we can to try and reduce sex slavery," she said.

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