The Illegal Commercial Sex Industry in King County
King County is part of known domestic and global sex trafficking circuits abetted through the highway system, particularly the I-5 corridor—running from Canada to Mexico—and Internet Trafficking. Human trafficking has been confirmed in 18 counties in Washington and is deeply tied to the issue of prostitution in the region.
How Buyer Beware is addressing the issue
King County is currently piloting a new Demand Reduction model to reduce commercial sexual exploitation. Past attempts to address commercial sex have focused on the arrest of prostituted people. With the usual age of entry into prostitution being 13-15 years old, prostituted people are coerced into “the life”, and are controlled by pimps or unable to escape for other reasons. Contrastingly, this model, put forward by the Buyer Beware Initiative, focuses on the participants in these crimes who do have a choice: the buyers who drive demand. Moreover, the municipalities participating in Buyer Beware have committed to running stings on monthly or bi-monthly bases.