Letters to the Editor

Human trafficking taints Federal Way | Letters

I enlist your cooperation and support in stopping and putting an end to human trafficking.

The sexual trafficking of women and girls take many forms: survival sex, street prostitution and Internet-based exploitation, stripping and dancing.

Human trafficking is modern day slavery. Trafficking of humans is the second largest criminal industry in the world and is the fastest growing. Trafficking also occurs in the form of labor exploitation.

Many of you already belong to one of the organizations presently working to end stopping human trafficking. For those of you interested in getting involved, I encourage you to seek out one and enroll in their efforts to help save the young girls, teenagers and adult women from sex slavery. Contacts for one of those organizations will be listed at the end of this article.

Young girls are brought into this country with promise of a better life and the American dream.  Then, there are young girls within our cities who leave home due to many causes; i.e.: broken homes, domestic violence (human trafficking is partly born from domestic violence), sexual abuse, trauma and other reasons.

It is only a few days until pimps have these girls under their control, working the streets and hotels. Sexual exploitation is any exchange of sex acts for money, gifts, drugs or basic needs such as food and shelter.

When the girl’s performance and/or income are not what is expected by the pimps, the girls are beaten by the pimps to keep them in line. The girls cannot leave, fearing another severe beating, and they are indebted to their pimp. The people with actual power are the buyers and pimps.

Unless the cities are policing the streets and other places, the girls are in a comfort zone. They do not fear going to jail, so they practically live on the streets. These girls frequent businesses, giving the businesses a bad reputation, and customers will stop going there. These girls can be a nuisance to the public.

SeaTac is among the top cities for human trafficking in the nation. This can be contributed to there being a port that brings in men who stay in the hotels/motels locally and where there are more hotels/motels, massage and bath parlors and a busy strip on International Boulevard. Human trafficking is not limited or isolated to SeaTac. The girls migrate into the cities south of Seattle. Federal Way has police records of arrest of these girls. Yes, they have been in our city as well as other cities south of Seattle.

We need to be vigilant in reporting this type of activity in the city of Federal Way. We need to end this human trafficking.

Our police, in conjunction with other South King County cities and Pierce County, need to interfere with this business, busting the “johns” (prostitution customers) and increasing the penalties, including doubling and eventually tripling fines and increasing jail time.

Other punitive actions should be the suspension or loss of the john’s drivers license and the impounding of his vehicle. Once the johns are busted with stiff penalties, they will not return, therefore eliminating the trade.

Girls have been arrested over and over on Pacific Highway. They have wanted to get out of that way of life. Research has shown there is nowhere for them to go.

Law enforcement checks the internet on Craigslist to ID victims and perpetrators. Chris Johnson, aide to Attorney General Rob McKenna, contacts both state and federal bodies for the money to prosecute these perpetrators. The web brings alternative ways that trafficking can happen to U.S. citizens.

State Sen. Tracey Eide spoke of legislative initiatives to curb human trafficking. She says the girls arrive here because of the port. In 2002, there was legislation dealing with “mail order brides.” In 2005, legislation was passed to deal with victims of trafficking, and there was legislation covering sex terrorism in 2006. In 2008, the Confidentiality Program legislation was enacted. In 2011, there was legislation providing housing to victims.

The Catholic Franciscan Sisters will not stay at any hotel that has not signed a pledge not to provide rooms for human trafficking.

Once you will learn to identify victims of trafficking, you will become a help to the victims. Gaining the trust of a victim of human trafficking is an important first step in providing assistance. Understanding the mindset of victims is important to helping them restore their lives.  Confidentiality is vital for victims of trafficking. Enlist the help of a staff member who speaks the language of the victim.

Please join us in ending human trafficking by being a part of any one of the many organizations whose goal is to end this horrible industry.

Carroll Fisher, Federal Way

Note: To learn more about stopping prostitution and human trafficking in the Federal Way area, contact Karen Marion at ktm60@comcast.net or Brenda Oliver at oliverproperty@comcast.net.


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