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Renton, Covington, Enumclaw Uber, Lyft, taxi drivers to get sex trafficking awareness training

Summary

The council on Wednesday approved legislation that will lead to a requirement that for-hire drivers, including those with Uber and Lyft, receive sex trafficking awareness training as part of their county licensing process.

Story

King County will soon have yet another line of defense against sex trafficking, thanks to a measure passed by the County Council.

The council on Wednesday approved legislation that will lead to a requirement that for-hire drivers, including those with Uber and Lyft, receive sex trafficking awareness training as part of their county licensing process.

Sponsored by Councilmembers Reagan Dunn, Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Claudia Balducci, the motion asks that the King County Executive create a training program that will teach drivers not only to spot potential sex trafficking victims and survivors but also how to report such instances and provide victims with information about support services.

“For-hire and taxi drivers are in a unique position to be allies in the fight against human trafficking,” Dunn said. “This training will ensure that more victims and survivors of trafficking are seen and offered help when they need it most.”

The training would impact thousands of drivers. In 2017, 2,453 taxi and for-hire drivers were licensed in King County, along with 27,842 transportation network company (app-based rideshare) drivers who had permits from the county.

"I am so appreciative that our King County Council Member, Reagan Dunn, is working hard to bring training and awareness to the human trafficking issue,” said Covington Mayor Jeff Wagner. “It is not only a regional problem, but a global one. With this training, it will hopefully help more people out of trafficking and into the services and support they need."

“The approval of this legislation, which creates a program to train for-hire drivers, will provide additional people in the fight to combat sex trafficking,” said Enumclaw Mayor Jan Molinaro. “Having thousands of trained drivers watching and reporting potential sex traffic victims can make the difference. We support these efforts which will provide victims with the information for support services and ultimately to a safe environment.”

“We are pleased with the measure passed by the County Council that will help train Uber and Lyft drivers to be able to identify potential cases of human trafficking, and provide support and information to these victims,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law. “This is a very serious public safety issue that requires assistance from every source we can identify.”

King County has undertaken a broad approach to raising awareness around human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, an issue deemed by the FBI to be the second-largest and fastest-growing black market in the world. In 2011, the county designated King County Metro buses as a National Safe Space Partner, part of a national program to provide outreach and support services for youth in crisis. A year later, the King County Council led efforts to develop an anti-human trafficking public awareness campaign across Metro buses and properties, which expanded through partnerships both with private organizations and with the city of Seattle. The campaign included signs on Metro buses and billboards along roads in the county.

The council has more recently called for further expansion of this awareness campaign.

Wednesday’s approval sets a deadline of April 2020 for a report detailing what the training program might look like.


Contact the Council
Main phone:
206-477-1000
TTY/TDD:
206-296-1024
Email:
council@kingcounty.gov