Friday, January 19, 2018

Port of Seattle to Battle Human Trafficking

By Karen Robes Meeks

In recognition of January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month, the Port of Seattle announced a new port-wide strategy to fight human trafficking through its facilities, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and others throughout the region.

The strategy will target four areas to address the issue, focusing on “ensuring all employees have access to training and education; utilizing port facilities and communications channels to raise public awareness; collaborating with nonprofits, government agencies and private sector partners to maximize impact; and ensuring port policies and procedures are up to date to report suspicion of human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is not just a global issue, it’s a local issue,” said Courtney Gregoire, Port of Seattle Commission President. “The port has been engaged in this topic for years but now is the perfect opportunity to increase our regional leadership on this topic. As a major employer, an operator of an airport and maritime facilities, and a partner, we can do more to reduce demand, assist victims and raise public awareness.”

An estimated 300–500 children are put into prostitution annually in King County, some as young as 11 years old, according to the port.