Justin & Lindsey are members of Mars Hill Church and come to us by way of Virginia where Justin taught at the University of Virginia. Justin taught in the sociology department, specializing in violence against women, and Lindsey was a case manager for sexual assault and domestic violence victims. Justin and Lindsey founded and direct Mosaic, which is a non-profit organization that initiates projects in southern Sudan and Uganda that serves those who are suffering in these areas. Justin is also ordained in Sudan and is a training officer for the Sudanese People's Liberation Army, where he trains chaplains to aid rape victims in the war torn country.
Seattle is one of the top cities for underage prostitution in the United States. Most under-aged prostitution is "sex trafficking," which is a sub-category of "human trafficking."
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is the modern day practice of slavery and is part of the fastest growing criminal industry in the world
Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, harboring, or receipt of persons by means of threat, force, coercion, abduction, fraud, or deception to achieve control over them for the purpose of exploitation.
The United Nations estimates that 2.5 million people are trafficked annually. It deprives people of their human rights and freedoms, is a global health risk, and fuels organized crime.
Victims are people forced or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. Labor trafficking encompasses domestic servitude and small-scale labor operations, to large-scale operations such as farms, sweatshops, and major multinational corporations.
Sex trafficking is one of the most profitable forms of trafficking and involves any form of sexual exploitation in prostitution, pornography, bride trafficking, and the commercial sexual abuse of children. Under international law, any sexually exploited child (under age 18) is considered a trafficking victim, regardless if force or coercion occurs.
Sex Trafficking to the US
The United States is a destination country for international trafficking: transportation of foreign nationals into the U.S. for purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. The State Department estimates that approximately 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked annually in to the United States alone.
Victims brought to the U.S. originate from Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. Foreign national women and children brought to the U.S. for sex trafficking find themselves forced to work in massage parlors, hostess clubs, commercially-fronted brothels, residential brothels, escort services, and strip clubs.
Sex Trafficking within the US
Sex trafficking also happens to U.S. citizens and residents already residing within the U.S. borders. An estimated 300,000 American children are at risk for trafficking into the sex industry annually.
Traffickers coerce women and children to enter the commercial sex industry through the use of a variety of recruitment and control mechanisms in strip clubs, street-based prostitution, escort services, and brothels.
Domestic sex traffickers ("pimps") particularly target vulnerable youth, such as runaway, homeless, and foster-care youth. The average age of entry into prostitution is 12-13 years old in the U.S.
One reason that most prostitutes enter the trade in their preteens is directly related to the age at which many were victims of incest. The average age of incest is 12 years old. Incest and other forms of abuse often drive a child to run away from home and become vulnerable to the slick tactics of pimps and other predators.
The pimp seduces a new recruit with the lure of love, protection, wealth, designer clothes, fancy cars, and exclusive nightclubs. Pimps move from city to city looking for children and young women who are easy prey: alone, desperate, and alienated. Once they move the victim from her hometown into a strange city, the pimp can easily force her to work as a prostitute. Thousands of children and women are victimized in this way every year.
Washington State is a hot bed for sex trafficking because of the major ports and the I-5 channel. Sophisticated criminal networks are smuggling thousands of people from around the world into Washington—from Canada, through Sea-Tac Airport, through the Port of Seattle, and along the I-5 corridor.
The FBI coordinated a cross-country sting in February 2009, with local and federal law enforcement. Seattle was listed as the number one spot for underage prostitution out of the 29 cities that participated.
Key "track" areas in Seattle where children and women are forced to work:
- 11th Avenue and East Pike Street
- 600 block of Thomas Street
- Aurora N. between 85th and 105th
- Aurora N. motels (court hearing in October 2009 to determine closing motels)
- The Seattle Motor Inn, 12245 Aurora Ave. N.
- The Wallingford Inn, 4453 Winslow Pl. N.
- The Italia Motel, 4129 Aurora Ave. N.
- The Fremont Inn, 4251 Aurora Ave. N.
- The Isabella Motel, 4117 Aurora Ave. N.
- Pacific Highway South/International Boulevard strip
- Denny Regrade
Click on the state of Washington and then click on the orange flags around the state to read some reports of sex trafficking.
Ways to get involved
These are all things a campus or community group could do. Each of these ways of getting involved "seeks the welfare of the city" (Jeremiah 29:7) and spreads the good name of Jesus and MHC in the community more.
Finances, books, art supplies, toiletries, youth appropriate men’s pants (size L & XL), youth appropriate women’s tops (size small through XXL), women’s underwear (size 5 & 6), socks, shoes, coats, sweatshirts to Spruce Street Secure Crisis Residential Center and New Horizons Ministries.
Mentoring and teaching—lead a group (outdoors, arts, educational), bible study, or workshop at Spruce Street Secure Crisis Residential Center and New Horizons Ministries.
Serve as a Late Night Outreach Volunteer (LNO): Volunteers work directly with young women in prostitution. Commitment is for one year, serving three Friday nights per month. These shifts last about five hours and include prayer, going on outreach, doing paperwork, and setting up and supervising the outreach table. This opportunity is through New Horizons Ministries.
Cook and serve a meal for the youth—purchasing, preparing, serving, and cleaning up breakfast or dinner for 40-75 youth during drop-in. A minimum of four individuals is needed for a group who commit to serve one night per month for a minimum of six months at New Horizons Ministries.
Serve behind the scene
Office management, fundraising, grant writing, and research for Spruce Street Secure Crisis Residential Center and New Horizons Ministries.
Join the Western Washington Coalition Against Human Trafficking-contact Sarah Sweeney at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Spruce Street Secure Crisis Residential Center
New Horizons Ministries
Bay Fang, "Young Lives For Sale." U.S. News & World Report. Vol. 139, No. 15. 24 October 2005.