A statewide effort to combat human trafficking got a push Tuesday as political leaders, police and representatives from social-welfare groups unveiled a poster created to persuade victims to call for help.
The dark-colored posters, featuring images of a young woman sitting on a bed, a boy working in a field, a woman working in the hotel industry and a man working behind a sewing machine, were on display in state Attorney General Rob McKenna’s downtown Seattle office.
The text on the posters reads, “No one should force you into work or prostitution,” and is in multiple languages. The posters list a toll-free number for people to call.
Earlier this month, the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies recovered 23 teenage prostitutes in the Everett-Seattle-Tacoma area as part of a national sweep. In all, 69 children were rescued in 40 cities across the country as part of “Operation Cross Country V.”
“Washington state is leading the country in the fight against human trafficking,” McKenna said Tuesday. “It’s the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, second only to narcotics.”
Lai said he’s hopeful the posters will give victims of human trafficking assurance that the people are concerned about their safety. Many victims, he said, are “skeptical about coming forward.”
The posters, which have been translated into Russian, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and English, soon will be plastered onto light poles and inside churches, community centers and other gathering places.
Proponents hope to have fliers placed on billboards and bus shelters, said Lacie Morrison, executive director of Seattle Against Slavery, a grass-roots coalition whose goal is “to make a slave-free world.”