LOCAL NEWS

Port of Seattle signs pledge to increase awareness of human trafficking

Jan 12, 2023, 7:20 AM | Updated: 9:40 am
Human Trafficking awareness...
The Port of Seattle is launching new efforts to prevent human trafficking and raise awareness after signing a new pledge along with an alliance of other port leaders, tenants, and major airlines across the country. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
(Photo by Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

The Port of Seattle is launching a new effort to prevent human trafficking and raise awareness after signing a new pledge along with an alliance of other port leaders, tenants, and major airlines across the country.

The new pledge, called Port Allies Against Human Trafficking (PAAHT), works to raise awareness of the signs and behaviors of human trafficking among employees working at the ports. This is especially pertinent because January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Homeland Security working alongside local law enforcement to stop rampant human trafficking

“Increasing awareness of human trafficking saves lives. This pledge will increase awareness of the signs of trafficking and how to report it, which is the best way to prevent and stop trafficking through Port of Seattle facilities,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Sam Cho.

Organizations signing onto the pledge agree to:

  • Endorse and amplify port-led public education campaigns on human trafficking at port facilities
  • Promote participation in awareness training for staff to recognize typical trafficking signs and behaviors
  • Educate staff on how to report signs and behaviors via the National Human Trafficking Hotline

The latest statistics from the National Human Trafficking Hotline show that 955 reports were received in Washington state in 2021. Of those reports, 404 were from victims or survivors of human trafficking, and 233 cases involving 337 victims of trafficking were identified in the state.

“We know that King County is a hotspot for the international circuit for human trafficking,” Toshiko Hasegawa, Port of Seattle Commission Vice President, said. “People move through Sea-Tac Airport and maritime facilities across the globe. So the Port of Seattle is actually uniquely positioned to lead in addressing human trafficking and leading the efforts to combat it. Human trafficking is one of the largest underground economies in the world.”

Sea-Tac Airport currently has 310 anti-trafficking signs posted in restrooms and passenger loading bridges to combat this. There are also 30 signs at Port of Seattle parks and Fisherman’s Terminal.

Cho also announced the port is a recipient of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2022 Human Trafficking in Transportation Impact Award. The port will receive $50,000 of funding for Sea-Tac Airport to work “with other U.S. airports to develop a common educational program to raise awareness for how to spot and stop human trafficking.”

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Port of Seattle signs pledge to increase awareness of human trafficking