Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office has unveiled a new website to give people a lifeline - and a way out of human trafficking. The site was built in partnership with several agencies from King County and the state, and features downloadable resources, information, and a calendar of anti-trafficking events.
The number of human trafficking cases have doubled between 2012 and 2017 in Washington, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
That’s why Ferguson says this site is so important.
“We’re excited about it. We heard from individuals and survivors (that) what was really needed was one place for folks to go that provided all sorts of information of services they may need.”
That digital resource is even more needed, Ferguson says, after the closure of Backpage.com - a leading online site for sex trafficking.
Disruption of the online sex trade market caused by that shutdown, as well as other online platforms in the last several months, has created a potential influx of trafficking survivors who need to be connected with resources.
"I think there can be a temptation be overwhelmed by the size of the problem,” Ferguson said. "The challenge of the tragedy, the scope of the tragedy, but you know it's my feeling that you have to break down that challenge piece by piece and you can't let that paralyze you."
Reaching out to those being sex trafficked isn't easy work, but Kyra Doubek has made it her life's work.
"Most people have already been victims of sexual abuse and so your use to your body not being your own," Doubek said.
Doubek left home at 15. Soon she found herself swept into a life of being trafficked for sex.
Doubek is the co-founder of Survivor Impact Group. Her outreach to victims now always begins the same way:
“I ask them if they have had something to eat…that's the first step,” Doubek said.
She works to fight sex trafficking - and get people out of that life - because she knows what it was like.
And she knows who gets pulled in.
"This is not like this is not something that happens to people that are necessarily bad," she said. "It happens to people that are vulnerable."
She hopes that through more outreach like this, that she can help make that difference.
“I wish somebody would have told me that I'I believe you and I'm going to help you,'" Doubek said.
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