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The U.S. State Department estimates that there are at least 12.3 million adults and children who are victims of forced labor, bonded labor, and commercial sexual servitude at any given time.[1]  Women and girls represent 98% of those subjected to forced commercial sexual exploitation, and 56% of those exploited for non-sexual labor.[2]  Although the international community has been fighting this industry for more than ten years, human trafficking has not only continued, but is now more profitable than ever.  We cannot allow this to continue.

[1] United States, Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2010, (June 2010).

[2] International Labour Organization (ILO), Forced Labour Statistics (2005).



Human trafficking also referred to as trafficking in persons, is an umbrella term used for activities involved when one person obtains or holds another person in compelled service.[1]

More specifically, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, 22.U.S.C. § 7102 (8), defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as:

(A) Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or

(B) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

To learn about federal legislation that impacts Human Trafficking efforts, click here.

Major forms of human trafficking include:

  • Forced Labor
  • Sex Trafficking
  • Bride Trafficking
  • Bonded Labor
  • Debt Bondage among Migrant Laborers
  • Involuntary Domestic Servitude
  • Forced Child Labor
  • Child Soldiers
  • Child Sex Trafficking


Human Trafficking Facts and Figures[2]  

  • There are an estimated 12.3 million people imprisoned by modern day slavery around the world
  • 161 countries are reported to be affected by human trafficking by being a source, transit and/or destination country. Human trafficking affects every continent and every type of economy
  • Women and girls represent 98% of those subjected to forced commercial sexual exploitation
  • Women and girls represent 56% of those exploited for non-sexual labor
  • The trafficking of human beings for forced labor (commercial sexual exploitation and forced economic exploitation), is a $31.6 billion industry

[1] U.S. Department of State, Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. (2011). Trafficking in persons report 2011. Retrieved from website:

[2] International Labour Organization (ILO). (2005, April 22). Forced Labour Statistices. Retrieved from



The Women’s Center created an innovative anti-trafficking Task Force comprised of University faculty and staff, state and local legislators, NGOs, and other community leaders who are interested in working to eradicate the trade of human beings.  The Task Force is focused on supporting the work of its members, increasing community awareness, reviewing potential policy development, and researching the contexts and consequences of forced labor. Through partnerships with local businesses and various stakeholders, the Women’s Center Task Force is poised to gather real and specialized data to support education, influence policy, and increase public awareness around human trafficking issues.


Why does Human Trafficking happen in Washington State?

Our geographic location makes Washington State the host of multiple access points conducive to human trafficking including, an international border, airport, and seaport.  All of which support a high volume of people traveling in and out of the state.   Additionally, the prevalence of trade related occupations and the demand for agricultural labor in outlying areas further facilitate the occurrence of slave labor.

What is being done?

The Women’s Center has been involved in anti-trafficking efforts on a national and international scope for over 15 years. In 2001, the Women’s Center worked alongside former Washington State Representative Velma Veloria to host a groundbreaking conference on trafficking in Washington, “Trafficking of Women and Children: Challenges and Solutions.” The conference produced a comprehensive set of recommendations and was the catalyst for new state-wide legislation that was the first of its kind in the U.S.

The legislation, enacted in 2002 and 2003, criminalized trafficking and offered new protections to mail order brides.  Since then, 42 States have followed Washington’s lead and enacted legislation that criminalizes human trafficking.  Washington has continued to lead anti-trafficking efforts nationally by establishing protocols for services to victims of trafficking, and in providing funds for legal aid to undocumented aliens who are victims of sexual assault, domestic violence or human trafficking.

Where to Get Help in Washington?

You can report trafficking crimes or get help by calling the Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force Complaint Line at 1-888-428-7581 (voice and TTY).

You can also report suspected instances of trafficking or worker exploitation, by contacting Washington State Anti-Trafficking Response Network (WARN) or at 206.245.0782.