Action steps against trafficking: 1 - Email your representatives to take action on SB 5164 and SB 5885 (see information below). 2 - Learn about and contact legislators to support SB 5744/HB 1775 to end criminalization for child sex trafficking survivors and SB 5649/HB 1234 to expand protections for survivors.
Legislation in Olympia
In 2018 the state of Washington earned an "A" grade from Shared Hope's Protected Innocence Challenge. This rating evaluates the laws of each state in the U.S. regarding domestic minor sex trafficking. Six different components of law are reviewed:
Criminalization of domestice minor sex trafficking
Criminal provisions addressing demand
Criminal provisions fo traffickers
Criminal provisions for facilitators
Protective provisions for child victims
Criminal justice tools for investigation and prosecutions
Way to go, Washington State!
And though we're doing well, our lawmakers aren't satisfied; they think more can and should be done. The current legislative session has put forth additional measures to help victims of trafficking.
A March 9, 2019 publication from the office of Senator Rebecca Saldana, D-Seattle, reported, "The Senate unanimously passed legislation (SB 5164) today to provide public assistance to certain victims of human trafficking by expanding eligibility for state food assistance, family assistance, and medical care services programs." Senator Saldana said, “This legislation removes the barriers to critical life-saving services when people are in their most vulnerable moment and most need them. I am proud to have worked with API-CHAYA, Seattle Against Slavery, and Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, who are the frontline leaders in eliminating trafficking in Washington State.”
Additionally, KIMAtv.com reported on 3/11/19 about a second bill, also passing unanimously in the Washington State Senate. KIMA TV said, "The state Senate passed a bill on Monday allowing children’s statements outside of court proceedings to be utilized in prosecution of human-trafficking." The bill, 5885, was introduced by Senator Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley. He says it is a measure that will help spare victims additional trauma.
“This bill will offer a tool for the prosecution of trafficking cases involving children,” Padden said. “Many of these children have already suffered severe abuse from pimps and even their own families. In some cases, the children are themselves homeless and difficult to locate when a hearing is held. Prosecutors will have to be careful how they use this exception to the rule, but we have been able to utilize it successfully in other areas of the law.”
Unanimous, bi-partisan efforts on trafficking issues. Well done, Senators. Let's hope the House passes these pieces of legislation in the same manner.
Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit http://www.hope4justice.org/the-facts/
RESTORING HOPE GALA - 4/13/19
Engedi Refuge says, "You can help bring safety, comfort, and hope to victims of sex trafficking by joining us at our 2019 Restoring Hope fundraising gala. This event is an amazing opportunity for community partners like you to share this mission with your friends and associates by inviting them to a night of celebration, inspiration, fun, and meaningful charity. You make all the difference in ensuring the message of hope continues to be carried to survivors of trafficking!!"
When: Saturday, April 13, 2019. Registration opens at 5:30, dinner served at 6:30
Where: Four Points by Sheraton, 714 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham WA 98229
Cost: Single ticket; $65; Table Sponsorship of 8 is $500.
Click HERE to register for the Gala
Student Trafficking Education Project
There is still time for students to complete trafficking awareness activities and apply for the 2019 Hope4Justice STEP scholarship
Three $1000 scholarships are available - one each to a WCC student, a WWU student, and a Whatcom County high school student.
DEADLINE for submission is April 15, 2019 Students must satisfactorally complete at least 20 hours of trafficking awareness activity. Click on the items below for details about the STEP scholarship.