sex trafficking

Human Trafficking
9:00 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Study: Spending On Sex Trade Way Up In Seattle

Flickr Photo/Michael Scheltgen (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A new study finds spending on the underground sex trade in Seattle has gone way up. Of the cities studied, Seattle is one of only two where spending increased, and it’s not pennies: $50 million in 2003 to $112 million in 2007.

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Prostitution Charges
10:32 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Washington Legislature Passes Bill To Allow Human Trafficking Victims To Clear Record

Flickr Photo/publik16 (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A new human trafficking bill passed the state Legislature Monday that will allow victims who were forced into prostitution to clear their records of prostitution charges.

Removing one conviction has already been the law for a couple years. But now, a victim is able to get more than one charge vacated.

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Sex Trafficking
9:31 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Moving Past 'The Life': New Bill Would Allow Erasing Prostitution Convictions From Record

Flickr Photo/Brian

Those caught up in it call it "the life." It usually involves a pimp, coercion and prostitution.

For young victims of sex trafficking, getting out of that life and building a new one can be a monumental task. Having a rap sheet for prostitution makes it  incredibly difficult to apply for jobs, or housing, or school — the things it takes to start over.

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Human Trafficking
3:24 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

In The Shadow Of The Stadium: Sex Traffickers Target The Super Bowl

Steve Scher speaks with Elie Honig, New Jersey's director of the Division of Criminal Justice, about his team's efforts to combat prostitution and sex-trafficking in advance of the Super Bowl.

Underage Prostitution
6:00 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Jack Hitt, W.S. Merwin And Life As An Underage Prostitute

Jack Hitt On Making Up The Truth

Writer and storyteller Jack Hitt has made a career portraying the larger-than-life characters he's encountered: a flamboyant neighbor who made international news as one of the world's first transsexuals, a building superintendent who was also a Brazilian mobster. "Why do these things always happen to you?" people ask. They don't, he says. Unbelievable stories happen to everybody. His new solo show mingles these stories with scientific research to show how our story-generating brains are constantly editing reality and "making up the truth" for us. Steve Scher talked with Jack Hitt in 2009.

The Art Of Poetry With W.S. Merwin

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet W.S. Merwin is best known for his writing about the Vietnam War. Merwin has written and published poetry for over 50 years and translated the works of Dante and Pablo Neruda. He also comes from the generation of some of America's most famous poets: James Merrill, Robert Creeley, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara, James Wright and John Ashbery. What was it like to work in that company? Steve Scher talked with W.S. Merwin in 2010 about the art of poetry.

Life As An Underage Prostitute

Have you heard of a "choosey Suzie" or a "wife-in-law?" Do you know what being "in pocket" is? Thousands of underage kids trapped in prostitution know all too well. Steve Scher talked with Joanna Ward, then a case manager at YouthCare’s Orion Center, and heard first-hand stories of underage sex trafficking.

FBI Crackdown
4:34 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Nicole: A Portrait Of A Seattle Sex Trafficking Survivor

Flickr Photo/Tom Woodward

Two and a half weeks ago the FBI, in partnership with local law enforcement, conducted a cross-country sweep looking to help stop child sex trafficking. They recovered dozens of under-age victims who have been forced into prostitution, and they arrested their pimps. Three child victims were found in Washington state, and nine people were arrested here.

On Tuesday,  something very different happened at FBI offices in downtown Seattle.

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Human Trafficking
1:06 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

FBI Sweep Includes Victims And Pimps In Seattle Area

Over the last several days the FBI, in cooperation with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, conducted its seventh cross-country sweep looking to help stop child sex trafficking. The FBI worked with local police agencies, helped recover victims who have been forced into prostitution, and made arrests. About 50 different task forces participated.

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Children's Literature
2:33 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Maurice Sendak: The Lost Interview, And Conclusion Of Trafficking Series

In "Outside Over There," a baby is kidnapped by strange goblin-like creatures and replaced with an ice baby.
Credit Harper Collins

Children's book author Maurice Sendak is a kind of father figure for many of us. He had a profound sympathy for children and never belittled their emotions. He daylit their anxieties and coaxed them into poetic form in books like Where the Wild Things Are, In The Night Kitchen, and Outside Over There (a book that frightens many adults).

In 2009, a pair of Newsweek reporters interviewed an 81-year-old Sendak. The result was a good article. But the interview itself never aired, so we're playing it on KUOW today. There's an animated version, too:
 

Other Content:

  • Today, we concluded the WGBH series on Human Trafficking. Noel Gomez is a local activist trying to end sex trafficking here in Seattle. She's the founder of the Organization Of Prostitution Survivors. She told us two stories back in 2010:

Other stories on KUOW Presents, June 13:

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Human Trafficking
1:50 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Catching Up With Our Human Trafficking Series

Human Trafficking is not just an international problem. It happens right here in Seattle, too.
Credit flickr photo/ Randy Wick

Last week, we began running an outstanding series on human trafficking from WGBH called "The Underground Trade." We're halfway through, with more episodes scheduled through the week. If you've just tuned in, this is your chance to catch up.

A System Of Modern Slavery That Touches All Points On The Globe

Boston-based reporter Phillip Martin began with a police bust of a ring of massage parlors that offer more than massages. Many reporters would have stopped there. But Phillip started pulling on the "thread" of that story, and over his eight-part series, he's unraveled the whole sweater, tracing the route of human traffic all around the world to its roots in Southeast Asia.

It's A Local Problem, Too

Here in Seattle, we're adding local context to this story, capitalizing on the expertise of KUOW reporter Sara Lerner, who created a similar series here on KUOW a few years ago. This time around, Sara's reported on Seattle's John School and how pimps recruit women in the Puget Sound region. From the youth reporters at KUOW's RadioActive, we heard from a local woman who was enslaved in Grays Harbor County, and we ended our series with more reporting from Sara: a discussion on KUOW's Weekday about misconceptions surrounding child sex trafficking stats in the Puget Sound region. 

Full list of stories from KUOW Presents, June 10:

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Sex Trafficking
8:35 am
Mon June 10, 2013

How Seattle Pimps Groom Girls For The Street

In a recent radio piece, WGBH’s Phillip Martin explored forced prostitution in East Asia. That’s a problem in the Puget Sound region, too.

Pimps here often prey on young girls who’ve run away from home. Detective Todd Novisedlak of the Seattle Police Department says that in some ways it’s similar to cases in Vietnam. He said traffickers here, too, prey on young girls’ susceptibility to fall in love.

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Battling Prostitution
6:20 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Seattle "John School" Educates Men Who Pay For Sex

People take long flights to pay low prices for sex. In a radio story from WGBH, Phillip Martin explores the international sex tourism industry. Here in the Seattle area, Highway 99 hosts one main corridor where prostitution is easy to see. Hot spots dot the roadway, from Northgate to Sea-Tac. 

Some of those prostitutes are also underage girls, forced by pimps to walk the streets. That's called child sex trafficking.

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Sex Trafficking
8:57 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Washington Settles Over Failed State Sex Trafficking Law

The state of Washington will not appeal a federal court decision to strike down a new state sex trafficking law. The law would have held online websites like Backpage.com accountable for illegal ads posted on their sites.

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