Washington Trafficking Prevention works to prevent human trafficking in Washington state
Did you know that in 2020 there was a 99% increase of online child luring, and the average age of 14.4 years old was when the exploitation of adolescents started in Washington state?
These stunning statistics are part of the Washington Trafficking Prevention's(WTP) information and programs offered to professionals and the public to raise awareness and stop the exploitation of children and adults in Washington state. Their mission "aims to prevent human trafficking in Washington State by equipping the vulnerable and engaging communities."
Using their prevention strategies by training community members in partnerships with schools and youth-serving agencies and professionals, Washington Trafficking Prevention challenges root causes of exploitation in the perceptions and beliefs that lead to the demand for this industry.
Youth programs provided by WTP are offered for school-age children in middle school and high school. Professionals including law enforcement have trainings designed especially for them. The Online Safety for Families is for anyone caring for youth and job seekers and community members have their own training being offered.
A training teaches young people four ways they could be safer online, also teaches parents how to talk to their children about staying safe online. Parents can learn about the signs of online grooming and youth being sexually exploited. Professionals are trained in screening to help identify survivors and ways to create safety in serving their clients.
According to WTP, Pierce County is a major hub for human trafficking, however Bellevue police's blog published a recent story, "Armed suspect arrested as detectives target prostitution demand," where 16 men were arrested during a sting operation at a Bellevue motel.
The Bellevue Beat Blog story reported that police found that "countless people are being trafficked ... in the City of Bellevue." These are people from all walks of life, including children and other "highly vulnerable and marginalized people who are being harmed through the illicit sex trade," said Bellevue Captain Shelby Shearer. In a 2020 story reported by Bellevue police, three juveniles were recovered from a commercial sex-abuse operation and connected to immediate services.
Bellevue police are doing a good job supporting survivors, and their arrests ultimately will make sure the perps of these crimes will have to attend a program, Stopping Sexual Exploitation, to look at the exploitation of women, and how they have harmed them. Seattle Against Slavery provides a program for men to stop sexual exploitation, and provides resources to victims.
The Bellevue Zone is in contact with some of the organizations making a difference in stopping human trafficking and the exploitation of women and will be attending trainings in January offered by WTP.