King County Council committee endorses awareness campaign for human trafficking
June 27, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 3:15 p.m. June 27, 2012
King County Council members, led by Issaquah-area Councilman Reagan Dunn, recommended a proposal Wednesday to educate the public about human trafficking.
The motion unanimously passed by the Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee calls on County Executive Dow Constantine to embark on a public awareness campaign and for the King County Transit Division public service to educate the public the crime and to let human trafficking victims know about available resources.
The measure heads to the full council for consideration.
Under federal law, human trafficking includes children involved in the commercial sex trade, adults 18 and older 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 farmworkers forced into work.
“Human trafficking has reached crisis levels here in King County and all around the country,” Dunn, the motion’s lead sponsor, said in a statement issued after the committee decision. “We know that educating the public on what human trafficking is, how the public can make a difference and getting information to trafficking victims on where to turn for help works.”
Officials estimate 300 and 500 children could be bought and sold in King County in 2012. Washington is a focal point for human traffickers due to the abundance of ports, proximity to the border between the United States and Canada, and a dependency on agricultural workers.
“One of the most effective weapons against human trafficking is information,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert — Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee chairwoman and the Issaquah representative — said in a statement. “Vulnerable populations, such as immigrants and youth in particular, need to know about their rights and that help is just a phone call away.”