Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today that his office is launching a new online resource to connect human trafficking survivors with resources and support.
For the first time, Ferguson’s new Washington Trafficking Help website, located at watraffickinghelp.org, provides a centralized hub for services available to human trafficking victims ready and able to break free of their trafficker and rebuild their lives.
Disruption of the online sex trade market caused by a recent federal indictment and shut down of Backpage.com, a leading online site for sex trafficking, as well as other online platforms in the last several months has created a potential influx of trafficking survivors who need to be connected with resources.
Ferguson’s site collects many of those resources for both sex and labor trafficking survivors in one place. The site provides a one-stop, comprehensive list of services for victims seeking exit services, survivor support, short-term and long-term shelter, health, mental health, substance abuse, education and employment services, law enforcement contacts and more.
The Attorney General’s Office funds and maintains watraffickinghelp.org. Because labor and sex trafficking victims are often immigrants, Ferguson’s office provides the website in more than 100 languages.
“To break the cycle of trafficking, survivors need to be able to find the help and support they need,” Ferguson said in a press release. “It can be overwhelming for trafficking survivors to find those resources. This site makes them accessible in one place.”
The Attorney General’s Office created the site with assistance from the Center for Children & Youth Justice, Washington Advisory Committee on Trafficking (WashACT), King County Commercially Sexually Exploited Children Task Force and King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, with the partnership of human trafficking survivors. It also features downloadable resources, information and a calendar of anti-trafficking events.
“Before this site, it was laborious to identify service providers that have been trained in commercial sexual exploitation that provide services in Washington to survivors,” said Kyra Doubek, co-founder of the Survivor Impact Group sponsored by StolenYouth, and a trafficking survivor who helped develop the website in a press release. “This site will enable us to spend more time providing quality services and referrals and less time searching.”
“This website is a crucial first step in helping victims of exploitation get 24/7 support across Washington State,” said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg in a press release. “Through local, state and non-profit partnership, first-line responders can also now instantly access information to provide critically needed services to victims.”
“The time, energy and care taken by the Attorney General’s Office to vet the organizations and verify the information on the Washington Trafficking Help website will ensure that survivors, those looking to exit the life of exploitation, service providers, NGOs, law enforcement and the general public have a centralized location in which to access trusted resources throughout the state,” said Natalie Mays, human trafficking specialist with the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office in a press release.
Attorney General Ferguson chairs the Commercially Sexually Exploited Children Statewide Coordinating Committee. He has dedicated a full-time prosecutor in his office to human trafficking issues. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the number of human trafficking cases reported in Washington doubled between 2012 and 2017. The hotline has taken nearly 3,500 calls from the State of Washington since 2007, identifying nearly 1,800 potential victims of human trafficking in the state.
There are about 25 million victims of human trafficking around the globe, according to the International Labour Organization. Polaris, a nonprofit group that works to eradicate trafficking, estimates that the number of victims in the United States may reach into the hundreds of thousands.
If locals suspect a case of human trafficking, either sex or labor, they should call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888. If someone is in immediate danger, call 911.