Human Trafficking in Washington
As human trafficking becomes a hot button issue for the country, the City of Richland hosts a talk on what's happening in Washington State.
State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D- 36th District) discussed the historical, cultural, and policy perspectives on human trafficking at the Richland library last night.
The presentation covered topics from the historic Mercer Maids in Seattle to sexual exploitation in Internet ads.
Kohl-Welles said Washington was the first state in the country to criminalize human trafficking. But it reamins a cash cow, bringing in $32 billion just last year and it's an issue that continues to spread.
She also said new laws, along with law enforcement approaches are key to tackling this issue, as well as getting information to the public. "We need to do more to assist them in being able to recognize that human trafficking is existing, whether it's sex exploitation of minors or adults, or with regard to labor. It comes down to the exploitation of individuals who are really being trapped in this."
Kohl-Welles serves on the University of Washington's Human Trafficking Task Force.