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.
A list of state and national legislation committed to combat human trafficking can be found here (link to “legislation” page).
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) firstname.lastname@example.org or at 206.245.0782.