New Legislation Aims to Enhance Washington’s Fight Against Human Trafficking and Support Survivors

Seattle, Washington – State lawmakers in Washington are proposing a new bill aimed at strengthening human trafficking and sexual abuse laws in the state. The legislation comes in response to the recent C grade received by Washington from Shared Hope International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating sex trafficking. According to a news release from state Democrats, the bill, known as SB 6006, seeks to implement recommendations put forth by Shared Hope to improve victim identification, response, care, and legal justice.

One of the key objectives of SB 6006 is to align state law with the federal Justice for Victims Trafficking Act, ensuring that Washington continues to receive funding for its anti-trafficking efforts. The bill aims to enhance the state’s ability to identify and support survivors, provide ongoing care, and ensure perpetrators are held accountable.

This isn’t the first effort to address the issue of child sex trafficking in Washington. In April 2020, Governor Jay Inslee signed the ‘Safe Harbor’ legislation, which prohibits the charging of anyone under 18 with prostitution. The law also established a pilot program for law enforcement to divert sexually exploited youth away from detention and towards appropriate support services.

State Senator Dhingra, chair of the Senate Law & Justice Committee, emphasized the importance of recognizing these survivors as children who have endured unthinkable trauma. She stressed the responsibility of the state to provide the necessary assistance and support for their healing and path to recovery.

The proposed bill has already undergone a public hearing, allowing stakeholders and advocates to voice their opinions and concerns. While the specifics of SB 6006 are yet to be determined, the bill represents a step forward in Washington’s ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking and provide crucial support to survivors.

By prioritizing the implementation of Shared Hope’s recommendations, seeking federal alignment, and addressing the unique needs of survivors, Washington aims to strengthen its approach to combating human trafficking and supporting those affected by this heinous crime. The proposed legislation signifies the state’s commitment to creating an environment of safety, justice, and healing for survivors of human trafficking in Washington.