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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 26, 2009 at 5:09 PM

Sex trafficking

Thousands need rescuing annually

Thank you to all those involved in “Operation Cross Country III,” the recent effort to combat prostitution and sex trafficking that resulted in 35 arrests in Western Washington. A special thanks for rescuing the 10 Washington children who were made victims of sex trafficking in our local communities [“10 child prostitutes rescued,” Local News, Feb. 24].

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that over 14,500 human-trafficking victims, including sex-trafficking victims forced into prostitution, are transported into the United States annually and thousands more are trafficked domestically.

I hope that officials are coordinating with the FBI to prosecute those responsible for trafficking these children to the full extent of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which classifies all cases in which a minor is being induced to perform a sex act as trafficking, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

I am also encouraged by the continuing local efforts to combat the serious problem of sex trafficking. After all, the feds can prioritize it, but it takes individuals at the local level — teachers, pastors, neighbors, police officers, etc. — to identify the victims that are unable to get help for themselves.

— Steven Buter, Parkland

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