Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day and the City Council and Mayor issued a proclamation expressing Seattle’s continued determination to fight this form of modern-day slavery.
We often think of human trafficking as a problem on the other side of the world. I certainly encountered this persistent injustice when I worked overseas as a poverty relief worker years ago. But we must acknowledge the painful reality that human trafficking occurs here, too.
This issue came home for me when a 2008 report landed on my desk detailing the lives of commercially sexually exploited children in King County, some as young as 13. Trapped in a cycle of violence and exploitation by predator pimps and johns, these children need help. With the assistance of many private individuals and organizations, we were able to fund a residential recovery program for some of these youth. That remains one of my proudest moments on the Council.
The City, the County, the Port, the State and our local US Attorney’s Office have all taken strong stands to push forward the fight against human trafficking of any form. To raise your awareness about this issue, I’d encourage you to visit this site: http://warn-trafficking.org/.And if you have interest, you can read past my blog posts on human trafficking and commercially sexually exploited children.