• Congressman Reichert proposing bill to end sex trafficking of foster children

    By: Amy Clancy

    Updated:

    Congressman Dave Reichert, R Washington, was a King County Sheriff’s detective during the infamous murder spree of Green River killer Gary Ridgway. 

    On Thursday Reichert said many of Ridgway’s victims were prostitutes and runaways. “I would say I responded to, over my career, 150 dead bodies of young women,” he said. “Dead, young women who no longer have the opportunity for success or life.” Reichert said his experience in law enforcement is one of the reasons he’s now proposing a federal effort to protect those who find themselves the victims of child sex trafficking, especially children who run away from foster care. In the next few days Reichert will introducing a federal bill called the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act. The bill aims to identify foster kids before they run away and become victims of the sex trafficking trade.  According to multiple studies, at least 60 percent of juveniles arrested for prostitution are runaways from foster care and group homes.

    Current foster child Mandy Urwiler said the problem is much bigger than most people realize. At Reichert’s news conference in Seattle today, Urwiler described herself as “someone who’s had first-hand experience with being pressured to turn tricks for people who had every intention of exploiting me for their benefit.” Urwiler said she never succumbed to the pressure, but as senior network representative for The Mockingbird Society, she supports Reichert’s efforts.

    So does King County Sheriff John Urquhart, who was a vice detective during the Green River killing spree. On Thursday Urquhart said he now regrets arresting teen prostitutes back then. “We didn’t understand how victimized these women and young girls were.” Urquhart believes, if Reichert's bill becomes federal law, many runaway foster children nationwide will get the help they need before they fall victim to sex trafficking.


    Next Up: