Human trafficking is defined as the use of force, fraud, or coercion to make an individual work in ANY industry. Victims can be men, women, and children of all socioeconomic status, education, backgrounds, nationalities and professions.
The International Labor Organization reports that human trafficking generates $150 billion globally with $99 billion from commercial sexual exploitation. A 2014 Urban Institute report of underground commercial sex economy in eight U.S. cities (including Seattle) estimated this illicit activity generates between $39.9 million and $290 million in revenue for each city. The majority of girls are trafficked between the ages of 14 and 17.
As a result of its coastal location, Washington State is a major hotbed of sex trafficking – particularly along the I-5 corridor. Victims may be trafficked into the U.S. from overseas and forced to labor or be prostituted through violence, threats and coercion. Or, they are increasingly U.S. citizens lured into a lifestyle from which escape can be impossible without outside intervention.
Washington Engage is unique in that we approach anti-human trafficking efforts through legislative advocacy, professional engagement and community grassroots partnerships – a symbiotic relationship that sustains and informs our work at multiple levels. Our policy initiatives, innovative programs and community Coalitions Against Trafficking are integral to creating sustainable and permanent change in Washington State.
Please take a moment to learn more about our work.