[Text from www.gpseattle.org/the-problem/ ]
People usually think of sex trafficking as something that happens in 3rd world countries. Something foreign and distant. However, sex trafficking is happening every day in the US, even in the Seattle area. It’s right in our back yard.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 defines the most severe forms of human trafficking as sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking occurs when a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident who has not attained 18 years of age is engaged in a commercial sex act. Commercial sex acts include erotic dancing/stripping, pornography, and prostitution.
It is important to note that a person does not have to be “trafficked” over country or state borders in order to be a victim of trafficking – indeed “domestic” trafficking is the largest trafficking category.
In 2009 in the South Seattle Area, more than 81 Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) victims were involved with arrests for sex trafficking. Unfortunately, this is the only crime in which one can be labeled as both victim and offender.
In 2008 a study estimated that 300-500 youth are involved in DMST in the Seattle/King County area; however, local law enforcement anecdotally saw an explosion of young girls involved in the life starting in 2009 after this was published. So the number is more likely as high as 1,000.
The average age of a traffic victim in the US is 11-14.
A minor involved in trafficking has a lifespan of 7-10 years.
Thanks to my cousin, Lief, for this easy-to-understand Q&A! :-)
Underage victims of sex trafficking
What does Genesis Project offer them?
The Genesis Project currently operates a drop in center where victims can receive food, clothes, shelter, and resources to escape the sex trade and sustain a life outside of it.
Where does the money go?
The funding will go toward maintaining Genesis Project’s drop in center, expanding services, and eventually opening a long term housing facility.
Why do you need my support?
Since 2009 the number of underage girls involved in arrests for sex trafficking has mushroomed throughout the Greater Seattle area. Supporting Genesis Project means that you are helping to give these girls an alternative from jail time or returning to their pimps.
I'm going to be running in the Freedom Walk 5K along Pacific Hwy (it actually begins on 208th Street+Pac Hwy...really brings things close to home! :-/) The walk/run begins at 11am and goes 3.1mi(5K) North along Pac Hwy. Please join me if you are interested! :-)