Human Trafficking: Waking up to the Truth
For Federal Way’s Brenda Oliver it’s personal.
She first got involved with the human trafficking issue December 21, 2007, the day her friend’s daughter, Danica Childs, disappeared. The 17-year-old was on her way to go Christmas shopping with her family. Her mother, Dianne Zoro, says, “I talked to her between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. and she said she was coming home to meet up with her sisters and a couple of friends.” Danica never arrived.
Five years later, her friends and family are still waiting.
Her mom says unopened voice messages on Danica’s cell phone that day indicate she was involved in prostitution and most likely forced into a prostitution ring, another victim of human trafficking. Each year more than 293,000 children nationwide are susceptible to becoming victims of human trafficking.
Federal Way-based World Vision advocates on behalf of women and children around the world each year. But for most of us that’s where we leave the issue — on the other side of the world. But Brenda Oliver says it’s something happening here. “People are waking up to the truth of this,” she says. “Finally, we’re now starting to look at these young women (and sometimes young men) as victims rather than criminals.”
Today, Oliver leads the Federal Way Coalition Against Trafficking. She’s also Advocacy Chair for Women of Vision – South Puget Sound. She’ll be at Federal Way City Hall Wednesday night, January 9 when the city will present a proclamation addressing the city’s commitment to enforcing anti-human trafficking laws. Between 150 and 200 are expected.
Brenda and Women of Vision are also promoting a day-long training session at World Vision U.S. Headquarters in Federal Way on Friday, January 25. She hopes to recruit potential trainers and educators to get the Deceptions Awareness program into more schools. To register: www.fwcat.org.
Until then, Brenda Oliver and Danica Childs’ friends and family wait for the day a teenager comes home as they work for a day when the traffic will stop.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of “labor or services,” such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm-workers forced to labor against their will. The factors that each of these situations have in common are elements of force, fraud, or coercion that are used to control people. Then, that control is tied to inducing someone into commercial sex acts, or labor or services.
Because human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries, the U.S. Government and academic researchers are currently working on an up-to-date estimate of the total number of persons trafficked annually in the United States. With 100,000 children estimated to be in the sex trade in the U.S. each year, it is clear that the total number of human trafficking victims in the U.S. reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated.
For more details: www.fwcat.org
ENDING THE DEMAND: HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN FEDERAL WAY
Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 7 – 9 p.m.
End the Demand — All City Forum, Federal Way City Hall
Peter Qualliotine, Co-Founder of Organization for Prostitution Survivors
Brian J. Wilson, Chief of Police, Federal Way Police Department
Nick Lembo, Board Member for Defenders, Shared Hope International