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Senate passes 2 proposals that would fight human trafficking

Sen. Joe Fain - Courtesy photo
Sen. Joe Fain
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The state Senate took another step to combat human trafficking and commercial sexual abuse with Monday's unanimous passage of two proposals.

Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, who represents the 47th Legislative District in South King County, said the Senate's action is another strong and necessary step aimed at keeping exploited women and children safe.

"Penalties for the types of heinous crimes that are being committed by traffickers must be severe," Fain said. "Law enforcement is actively working above and beyond, especially in our South King County communities, to protect those who are being victimized – as well as making sure those who are forcing women and children into these situations are arrested and held responsible for their actions."

The changes proposed in the first measure include increasing the legal penalty for immoral communication with a minor and adding to the protections for those testifying against traffickers in court. A second bill would increase penalties for individuals who use online resources to promote or conduct prostitution.

Fain said South King County is a leader in the fight against human trafficking because of local involvement.

"Members of our community have stepped up to help; Auburn Youth Resources serves as an emergency shelter and provides great services such as counseling for youth and their families," Fain said. "I've also been impressed by the efforts of King County, which recently launched an outreach campaign and local groups like the Federal Way Coalition Against Trafficking, a citizen-led initiative. These efforts among many others are keeping the public engaged with the issue. A comprehensive network of health-care options and targeted law-enforcement programs will continue to make a difference."

Fain noted six billboards in the Kent area were donated to spread awareness.

"There has also been great work by local law enforcement including what the SeaTac Police Department has done with the Genesis Project to help protect women and children in our community."

Both measures are now sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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