With a dense population near 90,000 and a spectrum of socioeconomic conditions, Federal Way, Washington provides the perfect storm for human trafficking. Victims defy stereotypes. They come from foster homes and so-called “normal” homes.
Detective Brian Taylor of the King County Sheriff’s Office co-founded the Genesis Project to rescue young women from sex trafficking in the South King County area and help rebuild their lives. Taylor is also a Federal Way resident who works with the FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force.
“It can happen to any girl,” said Taylor, adding that a large number of juvenile prostitution victims come from Federal Way. “What the pimps are doing to these young girls is akin to murder because they’re murdering their spirit,” said Taylor, himself a father of a teenage daughter. “It ends up in a vicious cycle and their life goes down the tube.”
The movement to end human trafficking is gaining momentum. The Federal Way Coalition Against Trafficking (FWCAT) was established in 2011 by local volunteers to eliminate a problem that affects all ages and backgrounds. FWCAT volunteers have worked in Federal Way schools with a program called “Deceptions.” FWCAT is also working to extend the organization’s reach to parents across the city and to involve Federal Way businesses in spreading awareness of a problem that can happen to anyone.
The Federal Way Chamber of Commerce Advancing Leadership class of 2013 has selected FWCAT for its service project and will provide 30 volunteers. “Our team just wants to help elevate their message,” said Advancing Leadership director Teri Hickel. “(FWCAT is) just so passionate about really making a difference for kids.”
Learn more at Andy Hobbs’ Federal Way Mirror article: Federal Way fights sex trafficking.