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Could sex ed bills lead to more child sex trafficking in Washington?

Seattle is many things — a city of music trends, a capital for outdoor enthusiasts … and, unfortunately, a major thoroughfare for child sex trafficking.

Jim Fuda of Crime Stoppers Global Solutions said that the city’s location as a major port, as well as its problems with the drug trade, contributes to this.

“If you know anything about the markets, especially for child sex trafficking — India is number one, Brazil is number two, and sadly, the United States is number three,” he said to the Dori Monson Show.

Travelers may play key role in stopping human trafficking

Traffickers usually look for vulnerable children coming from a background filled with trauma and neglect. The pimp then tries to lure the child in through a process known as grooming, in which they pretend to offer the child the love they might not have received before.

“You could have a troubled kid, someone who claims they’re going to help take care of them — so it becomes a mind game,” he said. “Or, where it gets more brutal, it’s where they say, ‘You’re going to do this, or I’m going to harm your family.'”

As the name implies, Crime Stoppers Global Solutions focuses much of its effort abroad. Fuda remembered one horrific story in which two Syrian Christian girls were sold into sex slavery in Western Europe by way of the Balkans. They were eventually able to be rescued in Serbia; however, a third girl with them was killed and her organs were harvested.

The crime-stopping organization works against not just human trafficking, but also terrorism and the smuggling of drugs and guns. Crime Stoppers uses app technology to allow people with information to anonymously report tips so that they are not targeted by the criminals for contacting authorities.

“We hit it at the source or the transit routes,” Fuda said. “People in these developing countries, where the corruption in these fields is so high, want to talk, they’re just afraid to.”

Links between sex ed and sex trafficking?

But one group fears that a bill in the Legislature may increase the odds of kids falling prey to sex traffickers here in Washington.

Informed Parents of Washington is examining the potential links between House Bill 1407, the bill mandating sexual education in Washington public schools, and sex crimes against minors.

One example of the kind of curriculum promoted by sex ed advocacy groups is an information sheet recommending that students who cannot afford sex toys use vegetables instead.

Some parents fear that if students become used to teachers giving them this kind of information, they might not find it odd if another trusted adult begins an inappropriate conversation about sex for grooming purposes.

Fuda agreed with this interpretation.

“It’s like trying to normalize something at a young age, and if a kid inadvertently becomes a victim of some type of sex trafficking, they say, ‘Well, I heard about this in school,'” he said.

He pointed out that in the vast majority of child molestation cases, the sexual abuser is someone the child knows and trusts.

“It gets back to normalizing something at a certain age that shouldn’t be normalized,” Fuda said.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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