Councilmembers request collaborative effort to combat growing problem
StoryMetropolitan King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn and Councilmember Larry Phillips today released a letter they sent to Sound Transit calling on the agency to work collaboratively with King County in supporting the anti-human trafficking campaign that will launch in January. The letter asks Sound 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 both here in King County and across the nation,” said Dunn, chair of the Council’s Regional Transit Committee. “Being able to use both King County Metro and Sound Transit in a joint effort to shed light on these heinous crimes is a big step forward in helping victims and potential victims.
“Public transportation is a known hot spot for human trafficking, so a public awareness campaign by Metro and Sound Transit can help keep our transit passengers safe and aware of their surroundings,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee Chair. “Raising awareness about the prevalence of human trafficking in our state and how to prevent it will help keep potential victims out of harm’s way.”
In response to a motion initiated by Councilmember Dunn, last week the County Executive transmitted a report to the County Council announcing that the County will implement a public awareness campaign to combat Human Trafficking beginning in January 2013.
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.