StoryThe Metropolitan King County Council unanimously adopted at its February 18 meeting a motion urging the Washington state Legislature to enact and support efforts to combat human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation that would better support and protect victims.
“Our state has been on the forefront of the battle against human trafficking and King County has been there every step of the way.” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, the prime sponsor of the motion. “This motion simply formalizes King County’s support of further measures to fight Human Trafficking and allows County officials and staff to proactively support legislative efforts to fight these heinous crimes.”
The motion calls on the Legislature to continue its support of efforts to combat human trafficking and to adopt legislation that will protect the survivors of trafficking and exploitation.
Several bills are currently before the State Legislature that would aid in the fight against human trafficking such as HB 1292, which would allow victims of human trafficking to petition a judge to clear their criminal records of prostitution-related convictions. HB 1292 recently passed out of the State House of Representatives 94 to 1 and currently awaits a hearing in the State Senate.
Human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world, and between three hundred and five hundred children will be bought and sold in King County this year. As defined under federal law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in 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.
In 2003, Washington was the first state to criminalize human trafficking ., Washington state has some of the most comprehensive laws critical to the fight against human trafficking, punishing traffickers and supporting survivors, and is rated most outstanding by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s Polaris Project.