sex trafficking

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Law enforcement authorities in King County have announced a major change in how they go after prostitution. They said they plan to stop targeting prostituted women, and train their sites instead on the men paying for sex.

Police and advocates say prostituted women have long been targeted for arrest – 10 times more often than the buyers, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Arizona State University/Shared Hope International

Men who are convicted of paying for sex with minors are unlikely to serve much time behind bars, says the finding of new research conducted by Arizona State University and released by Shared Hope International, an organization trying to stop sex trafficking.

The study examined 134 cases in Seattle, Phoenix, Portland and Baltimore-Washington, D.C.

Nicole was 17 when she met the man who changed her life.

“I met a guy. He put the charms on me, and I fell for it,” she said.

Soon, Nicole found herself on the streets of Seattle and Tacoma, earning money for that same man as a sex worker. 

Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna and 45 other attorneys general today called for information about how Backpage.com presumably attempts to remove advertising for sex trafficking, especially ads that could involve minors.

Meanwhile, Snohomish County has received a $450,000 federal grant to combat child sex trafficking.

Photo courtesy of Women's Funding Alliance.

Two years ago, the city of Seattle got the results of a harrowing study: it estimated as many as 500 children in King County are involved in prostitution

More recently, FBI sweeps have found more girls victimized here than anywhere else in the country. Seattle is identified by the FBI as one of the top ten human trafficking centers in the country - due in part, perhaps, to more effective law enforcement.