Seattle-area officials are touting a new campaign to fight human trafficking. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn announced the new effort Wednesday that mainly involves Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.
The company owns six Seattle-area radio stations and numerous billboards in the region. Clear Channel has donated $94,000 of billboard space for new ads and $88,000 of airtime for public service announcements.
The messages are intended to raise general awareness and to reach people forced into any kind of unpaid labor.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn praised Clear Channel for participating. He says human trafficking is a major problem in the area. “Our data shows there are 300 to 500 children at any time in the county who may be involved in this. And that’s from reviewing police files and our human services and social services records,” he said. “Seattle police found 29 children last year who were being sold for sex.”
Human trafficking has become a frequently mentioned topic among elected officials. Mayor McGinn has publicly called out the online classified site Backpage.com, saying it promotes child prostitution. This month, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn and County Executive Dow Constantine launched a separate public awareness campaign. About 200 Metro buses are displaying ads intended to fight the problem.
The new billboards are in eight languages and are going up throughout King County, including the Interstate 5 corridor.