Councilmembers request collaborative effort to combat growing problem
StoryMetropolitan King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn and Council Chair Larry Gossett today called on Pierce Transit to support an effort to end human trafficking. The members released a letter they sent to the agency urging them to work collaboratively in an anti-human trafficking campaign that King County will launch in January 2013.
The letter asks Pierce Transit to support placement of materials on its coaches and wherever else possible to help highlight this growing problem.
“Human trafficking has become a serious problem here in King and Pierce Counties and across the nation,” said Dunn, chair of the Council’s Regional Transit Committee. “Being able to use both King County Metro and Pierce Transit in a joint effort to shed light on these heinous crimes is an important step forward in protecting victims, alerting potential victims and the general public about this issue.
“Working together across County lines is an important way we can fight back against Human Trafficking,” said Gossett. “A coordinated effort such as this will reach more young people and let them know about this growing issue and that there is help available to them. I look forward to seeing this public awareness campaign begin and it is my hope we can begin to turn the tide in the battle against traffickers.”
Human trafficking, as defined under Federal Law, includes children involved in the commercial sex trade, adults age eighteen or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of “labor or services,” such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm-workers forced to labor against their will.
It is estimated that between 300 and 500 children will be bought and sold in King County this year and children as young as 11 have been known to have been sexually exploited for commercial purposes in the County. The state of Washington has always been a focal point for human traffickers due to a number of key regional characteristics including an abundance of ports, proximity to an international border, and a dependency on agricultural workers.
In response to a motion unanimously adopted the Council, King County Executive Dow Constantine transmitted a report to the County Council in September announcing that the County will implement a public awareness campaign to combat Human Trafficking beginning in January 2013.