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King County, Seattle, Port promote awareness of human trafficking

Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Mike O’Brien
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

King County, Seattle, Port promote awareness of human trafficking
Agencies will hold event tomorrow to highlight regional solutions

SEATTLE – In advance of Human Trafficking Awareness Day, recognized nationally on January 11, the King County Council, Port of Seattle Commission, and Seattle City Council passed recent legislation to shine a spotlight on the horrific problem of human trafficking. 

 "In Washington, we can be proud that we were the first state in the union to criminalize human trafficking, and King County successfully prosecuted the state’s first human trafficking case." said King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who co-sponsored the County proclamation. "The unique partnerships we have been able to create here are making a difference by strengthening tools for law enforcement and the courts to help protect immigrants and teens from being forced into servitude and prostitution, as well as increasing penalties for convicted traffickers."

As many as 17,500 people are trafficked annually into the United States.  Mostly women and children, these individuals endure forced labor, sexual exploitation, debt bondage, and forced marriages – prison terms that have no end date and no hope for release.

"Our borders should always be open to trade and tourism, but they should never be open to human trafficking," said Port of Seattle Commission President Gael Tarleton. 

By working together, the three agencies, along with local and federal law enforcement partners, hope to increase awareness of this terrible issue – and with that awareness, heighten both reporting of activities and conviction of those who benefit from the misery of others.

"Human trafficking is a grave issue that thousands of people face in our State. It requires broad partnership across jurisdictions and I’m proud of the statement we are making together with this proclamation," noted Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

"Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery and needs to be eradicated permanently," said King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn. "It’s important that we increase public awareness of the warning signs and heal the victims."
Human Trafficking Awareness Day is Wednesday, January 11, and the three agencies will be joined by community and law enforcement leaders to announce new tools for both law enforcement officials and citizens and unveil solutions to prevent this modern-day slavery.  The event will be held at 1:30 p.m. at Seattle City Hall.

Read the King County Council proclamation here.

Read the Port of Seattle proclamation here.

Read the City of Seattle proclamation here.

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