August 17, 2010 – In a recent Dan Rather television special he said the U.S. Department of Justice dubbed Seattle, Wash., and Portland, as two of the twelve “hub cities” in the U.S. for prostitution and human trafficking, including sex trafficking of children and teens.
While the problem exists across the nation, Portland and Seattle provide easy north and south access on the I-5 corridor that spans from Canada to Mexico.
Portland, Ore., a metropolitan area just hours south of Seattle, has acquired a deplorable nationwide reputation for being the leading major hub for prostitution and child sex trafficking. Rather featured a recent television special called “Pornland, Oregon: Child Prostitution in Portland.”
Recognizing the depth of the problem, Portland is now leading the way to a solution for children and teens who are victims of human trafficking for the purpose of selling them for sex.
Many teens, Rather said during his TV special, are recruited for sex and then moved across the country. Only 60 to 100 shelter beds for this purpose currently exist in the U.S., with 20 of them located in Seattle, Wash.
One avenue for abusers to locate their victims is through the popular online classified advertising site, Craiglist. Click here for more on how the ads can open the door for human sex trafficking of children, teens, and women.
According to the NPR, seven years ago, Washington became the first state in the nation to make human trafficking a crime on the state level.
Now 44 states have a similar law and in the past few years legislative activity across the country are addressing the issue.
Dozens of new laws increase criminal penalties for traffickers and require better help for victims of coercion and force.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced Saturday that the YMCA of Greater Portland will receive a $900,000 federal grant for a shelter in Portland for underage victims of human sex trafficking.
Eric Brown, YWCA executive director, said, “We’re just now recognizing the issue in this country. I think it’s been on the radar internationally, but we’re just realizing this is an issue in this country.”
In June, Hillary Clinton issued a statement on the issues of human trafficking in the U.S. and globally:
“The 10th annual Trafficking in Persons Report outlines the continuing challenges across the globe, including in the United States.
“The Report, for the first time, includes a ranking of the United States based on the same standards to which we hold other countries. The United States takes its first-ever ranking not as a reprieve but as a responsibility to strengthen global efforts against modern slavery, including those within America.
“This human rights abuse is universal, and no one should claim immunity from its reach or from the responsibility to confront it.”
Click here for Clinton’s letter addressing this issue
Click here for the full text of the report. The file is large (22 MB) and has been broken down here>>
The report states that “trafficked persons’ sense of empowerment, trust, and community need to be re-built.”
Traffickers, it goes on to say, deny victims their basic freedoms, leaving them feeling trapped, fearful, and ashamed.
A shelter is often the first place victims are offered assistance and begin to rebuild what was shattered by the trafficker.
An effective shelter program that adopts this principle can create an environment that offers victims access to family, friends, and the community outside the shelter; power to decide their own recovery plan; comfortable accommodations resembling a residence, not a jail; respectful treatment as individuals with rights and not as criminal offenders; respectful, caring, and qualified staff; and opportunities to work and the ability to leave the shelter at will.
Craigslist site allows sexually explicit content and photos, potential human sex trafficking hub (Click here, then scroll down to locate article. Sorry, dampfang.com is experiencing technical difficulties as they go through a website change).
Human trafficking report