Speakers discuss human trafficking at community forum in Federal WayTo a full council chamber, speakers at the fifth annual all city forum Cultural Grooming of Our Youth, told heartbreaking stories of how the Internet culture has accelerated the spread of human trafficking.
From the mind-numbing availability of ever increasing violent porn, to the international dodging of backpage.com relocating to Holland, human traffickers make millions from selling children.
Doug Baxter introduced the evening’s speakers. Baxter, Violence Prevention Coordinator at Franciscan Health, is helping to provide Human Trafficking training to emergency room staff at St. Francis.
“It’s important that staff recognize and know what action to take in cases of human trafficking,” Baxter said.
The average age entering the sex trade is 12 years old, according to Erik Bauer, who has won the only successful Supreme Court case against backpage.com in Washington state.
Federal Way Detective Ray Unsworth cited cases of how local unsuspecting kids are being preyed on by usually someone they know.
“The grooming process can take time but the ‘bad guys’ are very skilled and know how to target, gain trust, provide for a need, isolate and then the abuse begins,” Unsworth said.
Carolyn West, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington noted the porn culture is changing what the general populace sees as normal sexuality.
West said the U.S. got an F when it comes to sex education and that gap is being filled by porn.
Federal Way Public Schools Executive Director of ITS Ron Mayberry said the challenge of filtering Internet access for the school district is huge.
End users have different needs and different filters of what can be accessed on the WiFi.
“Of course, we can’t filter the cellular connection of smart phones,” Mayberry said.
Brenda Oliver, founder of the Federal Way Coalition Against Trafficking, invited everyone to join the fourth Annual 5K walk/run to “Break the Chains” of human trafficking in Federal Way.
The 5k will start at the Federal Way Farmers Market on May 14. Registration opens online Jan. 20 at www.fwcat.org.