Rob McKenna highlights fight against human trafficking

November 8, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Rob McKenna, state attorney general, addresses local business leaders Nov. 2 at a Nonprofit Leadership & Civic Service Summit. By Greg Farrar

In a speech to Issaquah business and nonprofit leaders Nov. 2, gubernatorial candidate and state Attorney General Rob McKenna highlighted efforts to combat human trafficking — a global pipeline into forced labor and the sex trade.

McKenna, as the top legal officer in Washington and president of the National Association of Attorneys General, launched a nationwide initiative in June to combat human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is now a $32 billion global criminal enterprise in our world,” he said at a Nonprofit Leadership & Civic Service Summit organized by the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce.

The attorney general and Republican candidate for governor served as the keynote speaker. U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee is the Democrat in the 2012 gubernatorial race.

Criminals smuggle 14,000 to 17,000 people into the United States each year for forced labor, McKenna said. In addition, rough figures indicate smugglers traffic 100,000 to 300,000 people each year inside the country, although the problem could be larger.

“What we don’t know is how people are being trafficked within countries — from one part of India to another, from one part of China to another or from one part of the United States to another,” he added.

In the anti-human trafficking effort, McKenna and more than 40 other attorneys general also targeted escort ads on backpage.com, a classifieds service owned by Seattle Weekly parent Village Voice Media Holdings. The legal officials said such ads routinely include underage girls and possible human trafficking victims.

“I often am asked, ‘Well, you know, if they could show you that there were no children, no teenagers, no one under 18 being marketed, would that be adequate?’” McKenna said. “My answer to that is no, because there are many, many adult victims of human trafficking being trafficked into the sex trade as well.”

In response to pressure from McKenna and other officials, backpage.com administrators said the service has enacted steps to curb human trafficking. Still, McKenna said, more action is needed.

“Our whole conception of prostitution has been wrong. We have bought, as a society and maybe as a world, we have bought into this Hollywood mythology about ‘Pretty Woman,’ ‘The Happy Hooker,’ etc.,” he said. “We now know from the research that most prostitutes — well over 90 percent — are prostituted. It is done to them. They are trafficking victims. They are not volunteers.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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4 Responses to “Rob McKenna highlights fight against human trafficking”

  1. Norma Jean Almodovar on November 9th, 2011 8:34 am

    The research studies to which McKenna refers were conducted by avowed anti- prostitution activists whose studies are skewed and are about as valid as research on blacks and minorities conducted by the Klu Klux Klan or the Aryan Brotherhood.

    I am a retired sex worker and have been a sex worker rights activist for 29 years since I left my so called ‘moral’ job with the thoroughly corrupt LAPD and I have met far more people in this industry who are not ‘prostituted’ and who have freely chosen this work over any other that they might have chosen. Throughout the world sex workers are fighting for their rights- but no one listens to us. We are told we are victims, yet when we are abused or raped, we are told by the cops and the courts that we cannot be raped.

    Stop treating adult men and women like children and allow US to go to the police when we need their help. We do not need to be rescued- we need to NOT be outlaws. Decriminalize all consenting adult commercial sex. We do not want you to arrest our non violent, non abusive clients- we want you to arrest the men who use violence against us- including cops- and also the men who use violence against their unfortunate wives and children, the millions of victims of domestic violence and spousal abuse. Surely those wives and children did not volunteer to become punching bags for their violent spouses/ parents?

    We want you to arrest the rapists who are responsible for the 400,000 to 500,000 untested rape kits in this country where a real victim asked for help and did not get it because the cops were too busy ‘rescuing’ consenting adults. Surely these victims are as deserving of your concern and attention as us po’ prostitutes are, aren’t they?

    End the demand to ‘end the demand’- unless you intend to apply this absurd concept to all areas where there are victims of human trafficking including domestic servitude, agriculture, garment manufacturing etc. Either such a solution is valid and could be applied to all areas where there are victims of human trafficking or it is merely a disguised attempt to impose your moral/social values on the rest of us and you could care less about our alleged ‘victimization.’

    Just search the internet for sex worker rights activists and you will find that we are quite capable of speaking for ourselves. We do not need pandering politicians to tell us what our lives or our experiences are like. If you ask US we would be happy to tell you that as many of us ‘volunteer’ to do this work as those who ‘volunteer’ to clean homes for the well to do, or who volunteer to take jobs as maids or seamstresses or janitors or any other type of labor which is looked down on by those with too much time and money on their hands. For most of us, it is a job that pays much better than any of those other menial jobs which you don’t seem to want to rescue people from doing.

    There are plenty of research studies out there which completely contradict the lies of the prohibitionists, and even the government’s own statistics on human trafficking victims do that. Why be so selective in the studies you cite unless those other studies do not fit with your moral/ social agenda?

  2. FreedomNow » USA: State Attorney General highlights efforts to tackle human trafficking on November 15th, 2011 3:06 am

    […] original article can be found at issaquahpress.com. Tags: Criminals, forced labor, Human trafficking, prostitution, sex trade, smuggle, […]

  3. Christine Monfort on November 25th, 2011 7:59 pm

    Where are all the underage children kidnapped and forced against their will by a pimp to have sex with the general public for money? How come we don’t see any of the forced victims themselves complaining about it? Why don’t the “millions of forced against their will child victims” talk about how they were kidnapped and forced against their will by a evil pimp to have sex for profit? I would like to have a interview with the “millions of forced against their will raped kidnapped child victims” So I could hear their stories. Where are they? Why do we only hear from the anti-prostitution groups that received money and grants from the government, and not the millions of victims themselves?

    If there are Millions of them, Shouldn’t the police and public know where they are, and shouldn’t we hear the millions of victims speak? Instead, none are found. Do all men really love raping children who are kicking, crying and screaming, with no one willing to help? Are all men really evil like this article says? Because according to this article 100% of men in the world are evil child rapists. Because only women help children and only men abuse them….right?

    Sex trafficking is illegal and the pentities are very severe. It is very difficult to force someone to be a sex slave, they would have to have 24 hour guards posted and be watched 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. Have the threat of violence if they refused, and have no one notice and complain to the authorities or police. They would need to hide from the general public yet still manage to see customers from the general public and not have the customers turn the traffickers in to the police. They would need to provide them with medical care, food, shelter, and have all their basic needs met. They would need to have the sex slaves put on a fake front that they enjoyed what they were doing, act flirtatious and do their job well.
    They would have to deal with the authorities looking for the missing women, and hide any money they may make, since it comes from illegal activity. They must do all of this while constantly trying to prevent the sex slaves from escaping and reporting them to the police. They would need to prevent the general public from reporting them into the police. This is extremely difficult to do, which makes this activity rare.

  4. Joseph Burlett on November 26th, 2011 12:16 pm

    While the village voice is making millions on this crime, they are not alone. This has been an issue for over 10 years with internet marketing of the exploitation of children.
    In fact, in 1996 the US Government introduced a law that would have protected children from these types of crimes. Bt the time it passed through both the house of representatives and congress, the law no longer provided protection to the children. Instead it provided civil and criminal immunity to the online companies that engage in this crime. Since 1996 companies are not held liable for their involvement in crimes like prostitution or sexual exploitation of women and children.
    Asking or demanding backpage.com remove sex ads from their site will do little or nothing in regards to ending this crime. The village voice or another of the hundreds of companies out there will just begin posting these ads under other names and URLs.
    The only way to end this crime and expose these criminals is to demand that congress amend the law that granted protection to these companies in the first place.
    http://goo.gl/6WpaI

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