Anti-Trafficking Team Raises Awareness on the Penninsula
Over forty community members and service providers attended the presentation on human trafficking given on Tuesday evening by IRC in Seattle's Anti-Trafficking Program Manager Kathleen Morris and Lieutenant Eric Sano of the Seattle Police Department’s VICE High Risk Victim’s Unit. Morris and Lt. Sano discussed ways to identify and respond to potential victims of human trafficking in the area. The event, organized by Soroptimist International of Sequim, focused on raising grass-roots awareness around Human Trafficking in hopes of increased victim identification. “ Human Trafficking is pervasive in our communities and due to its hidden nature, local community members are in the best position to recognize it and seek help for victims. Local grass-roots awareness, education, and resources are the best ways to combat human trafficking on a local level. ” said Kathleen Morris of IRC’s Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network (WARN).
WARN is a coalition of organizations across Washington State, led by IRC in Seattle, providing services to victims of human trafficking and conducting outreach and education for service providers, community-based organizations, and victim advocacy groups. Since 2005, WARN has worked closely with local and federal law enforcement agencies to combat trafficking and serve victims of human trafficking here in Washington State. IRC in Seattle co-chairs the Washington Advisory Committee on Trafficking, a local task force working to combat human trafficking, along with the Seattle Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington.
Washington State has worked to end human trafficking through legislation since 2003, when the first state level anti-trafficking law in the United States was passed in Olympia. Since then, studies have shown that human trafficking is the second most profitable criminal enterprise in the world, following only the drug trade. Washington State is recognized by the department of justice as one of four major gateways to human trafficking and IRC’s Anti-Trafficking program has served survivors exploited in nearly every industry; from domestic servants, construction workers, agricultural workers, employees in small businesses and large factories to those forced into servile marriages or commercial sexual exploitation in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Those trapped in what is commonly understood as modern day slavery are often kept from coming forward through threats to themselves or their families, language and geographic barriers, and ignorance of their rights in the United States.
Through the continued efforts of IRC in Seattle’s Anti-Trafficking program and its partners, awareness and support around human trafficking will continue to grow. It is WARN’s hope that presentations like the one given in Sequim this week will empower communities to help those trapped in slavery to come forward and seek assistance.
For more information on IRC’s Anti-Trafficking work, visit www.warn-trafficking.org.
To request a presentation or training for your student group, business organization, or service agency, contact email@example.com.