KING COUNTY, Wash. - January is human trafficking awareness month, and several organizations are working to build awareness of the issue in our area.
It is an issue affecting millions of people around the world. While it may seem far away from home, it is happening right here in western Washington.
"There’s absolutely sex trafficking here," said Lisa Kocher with the Genesis Project.
The Genesis Project is a non-profit that offers resources and help to women and girls involved in commercial sex exploitation, prostitution, and sex trafficking.
She says in 2021, the Genesis Project helped 53 different women.
"It’s gut-wrenching to hear some of their stories of just the abuse and poverty," she said.
Kocher said these women, who are still "in the life," can be as young as teenagers.
At the Genesis Project, they offer survivors resources for immediate needs, support and education, and referrals for housing, however getting women who are still "in the life" help is not an easy transition.
"The choice is kind of blurry, because a lot of them were pulled into the life as minors. A lot of them, a very high percentage of them, were sexually abused as children," she said.
The fight against human trafficking involves many groups throughout King County.
In Seattle, the mayor and city council declared Jan. 11 as Human Trafficking Day.
Also this month, the King County Sheriff’s Office and BEST (Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking) are working on a campaign to get information out to people in need of help and resources.
For more information on the work that BEST is doing in the community click here.
For more information on the work that the Genesis Project is doing click here.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of human trafficking, you can call the human trafficking hotline number at 1-888-373-7888, text 233733, or visit their website here.
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