City leaders encourage public awareness and action against human trafficking
SEATTLE – Mayor Bruce Harrell and Councilmember Lisa Herbold were joined by other City Councilmembers to declare the month of January as “Human Trafficking Awareness Month,” and today, January 11, 2022, to be “Human Trafficking Awareness Day” to proclaim the equality and freedom inherent to all people. The proclamation sets forward the City’s intent to advocate for legislation and protection for survivors, to educate leaders, and to encourage public awareness and action against various forms of human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is an unacceptable and criminal abuse of power. In this effort, the City is reiterating our pledge to protect and empower survivors of all forms of human trafficking, to pursue and charge traffickers, and to drive forward this important work until the scourge of human trafficking has ended—in Seattle, in the United States, and around the world,” said Mayor Harrell.
U.S. law defines human trafficking as the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel a person into commercial sex acts or labor or services against their will. It also includes the commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, which is considered human trafficking regardless of the presence of force, fraud or coercion.
“People of color, young people, LGBTI people, and people vulnerable through socio-economic barriers, are disproportionately affected by trafficking,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold, Public Safety and Human Services Committee Chair. “More than 400 trafficking survivors receive advocacy, counseling, and therapeutic services as a result of City investments. I’m grateful to the Domestic Violence Prevention Council and Human Services Department for bringing awareness of how trafficking contributes to the breakdown of families and community, fuels organized crime, and undermines public health,” Herbold added.
To learn more about local efforts to disrupt human trafficking and ways to get involved, visit the Seattle Human Services Department’s Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (MODVSA) website. MODVSA works in coordination with the Washington Advisory Committee on Trafficking (WashACT) which is informed by survivors, activists, and representatives from our criminal justice response to help expand the conversation around human trafficking in the City of Seattle.
More information and additional resources related to combatting human trafficking can be found on the following local and national websites:
- HSD’s Crime Survivor Services unit and Crime Victim Advocacy
- US Attorney’s Office Western District of Washington
- Polaris Project – National Human Trafficking Resource Center
To report concerns that human trafficking might be taking place, please call
the Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network Victim Assistance Line at 206.245.0782 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888.3737.888.