KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Ursula: Aurora Ave. arrests just a step to fight sex trafficking in Seattle

Jul 6, 2023, 7:38 AM | Updated: 7:45 am

sex trafficking aurora...

(KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

On any given day, if you drive on Aurora Avenue in north Seattle, you’ll see young women in spiked, plastic heels and skimpy outfits sauntering on the side of the busy highway.

And before long, you see a driver pull over, and then they disappear, likely into one of the many cheap motels nearby.

Gee, Ursula disagree on recent arrests of johns on Seattle’s Aurora Avenue

I still get shocked when I see this play out in broad daylight, so I was happy to hear that Seattle police recently arrested seven men after they allegedly tried to hire undercover cops posing as prostitutes.

Some may argue that’s a waste of SPD’s time and resources. I wholeheartedly disagree.

Sex trafficking is not a victimless crime. According to Port of Seattle data, anywhere from 500 to 700 children are forced into sex work every year in King County alone. It’s become much easier for pimps to coerce and exploit young girls online, and they make it nearly impossible for them to escape.

Case in point: in October of 2022, federal prosecutors say a 30-year-old self-described pimp named Winston Burt brought three women to Seattle after trafficking them in California and Arizona. His street name was “Dice Capone,” and he recruited other women in Seattle to work for him.

At least two of them had his name tattooed on their faces as a brand. Authorities say he lived in a million-dollar six-bedroom home in south Seattle and drove them to that stretch of Aurora Avenue where the women earned him $2,000 a day in exchange for food and drugs. When they tried to quit, he allegedly beat and pistol-whipped them, and one was finally able to escape after flagging down a rideshare driver.

Every time I see the girls walking slowly along Aurora with cell phones in hand, I imagine what kind of hell they face on a daily basis. And while I think the pimps are the scum of the Earth and should face the most dire consequences, the customers or “the johns” are also to blame and should be arrested.

More from Ursula: A personal story on how drug addiction affects us all

One SPD officer who’s worked the beat on Aurora says one sex worker they picked up was only 12 years old! Twelve!

So not only are these “johns” having sex with kids, but there’s also a major power imbalance. The King County Prosecutor’s Office found that between 2013 to 2021, nearly 80% of charged “johns” were white men who had well-paying jobs. About 45% of the young women involved in sex trafficking cases during that same time were Black, many coming from abusive homes.

The buyers have all the power, making the situation ripe for exploitation. And the young women are too scared to turn in their pimps, so between that and the fact that SPD is short-staffed, sex trafficking in Seattle has essentially gone unchecked.

In their press release announcing the arrests of the seven men, SPD said they “remain committed to allocating resources to respond to and investigate complaints of human trafficking, whether sex or forced labor.”

I’m all for it, but based on the number of young girls I see selling sex on Aurora Avenue, a lot more needs to be done.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

KIRO Newsradio Opinion

...

MyNorthwest Video

Video: Membership Fees at Costco Are Going Up!

Ursula Reutin joins the SMN crew to discuss some changes that Costco is making to its membership fees and the rewards it is giving back to members. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News w/ Dave Ross & Colleen O’Brien Show every weekday at 5am on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM or go to MyNorthwest.com to learn more! […]

2 days ago

thirtymile fire...

Travis Mayfield

Mayfield: I will never forget Devin, Tom, Karen, Jessica in wake of Thirtymile Fire anniversary

This week marks 23 years since the The Thirtymile Fire, a massive wildfire burning north of Winthrop Washington killed four firefighters.

2 days ago

...

MyNorthwest Video

Video: What do Sting and tantric sex have in common?

John shares an incredible story about a Sting concert at the Gorge… and then somewhere along the way, we (and by “WE”, we mean Jake) landed at tantric sex. Listen to the John & Jake Show every weekday at 3pm on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM. Listen to KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM, or visit MyNorthwest.com to […]

4 days ago

biden...

Angela Poe Russell

Angela Poe Russell: The lesson we all can learn from President Biden

As disturbed as I am by the state of politics right now, I do have President Biden to thank for giving me a new perspective on a personal matter.

4 days ago

...

MyNorthwest Video

Video: Should President Biden drop out of the race?

Ursula Reutin and Dave Ross have a very spirited conversation about our state’s Democratic response to President Biden. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News w/ Dave Ross & Colleen O’Brien Show every weekday at 5am on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show every weekday at 9am on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM […]

5 days ago

kamala harris...

KIRO Newsradio staff

From the audience: Kamala Harris needs to lead next generation of Democrats

Joe Biden merely needs to hand over the reins of power to his second in command, Vice President Kamala Harris, and sooner rather than later.

5 days ago

Ursula: Aurora Ave. arrests just a step to fight sex trafficking in Seattle