SeaTac, Wash. - Within the past six days, two men have been charged with felony sex trafficking -- in unrelated cases – at the same SeaTac motel.
Leon Henderson, 28, of Seattle, was charged last week with prostituting a woman out of the SeaTac Motel 6 on 47th Avenue South.
According to documents filed in King County Superior Court, Henderson sold the victim to at least 20 men over the course of two days.
Yesterday, Jordan W. Jackson, 21, of Des Moines was charged with allegedly selling a 14-year old girl at the same motel earlier this month.
“This is just a really tragic story of a 14-year-old runaway being trafficked against her will," King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt Ryan Abbott told KIRO 7.
According to Mar Brettmann “trafficking is a huge problem in our region. We know that 300-to-500 kids are prostituted at any given time in King County.”
Brettmann is executive director of B.E.S.T. – Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking – in Seattle.
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She said, B.E.S.T. trains businesses and employees in King County to recognize the signs of sex trafficking, especially in hotels and motels.
“What I hear repeatedly from owners and managers is they do not want this happening on their property,” Brettmann told KIRO 7 on Thursday. “The most important thing a hotel can do is train their staff. If their staff aren’t trained, the hotel is not going to be able to prevent the activity from happening.”
KIRO 7 visited the SeaTac Motel 6 on 47th Avenue South to find out whether management there provides such training, but employees at the front desk said they could not comment.
Requests for comment from the owner were not returned Thursday, but a statement from a Motel 6 spokesperson was received Friday morning:
Motel 6 requires all independently operated franchise locations, such as the one at SEATAC, to complete training on how to identify and report suspicions of trafficking on property. Motel 6 condemns human trafficking in all forms.
According to King County Sheriff's Office records – since Jan. 1, 2016 --- deputies have been called to the motel across the street from SeaTac City Hall nearly 2,000 times for area checks and 911 calls.
Eight of those calls were for prostitution-related crimes.
“It doesn’t appear that the people working there are maybe following all the rules that they should,” Abbott told KIRO 7. The motel does employ a security guard and keeps a “do not rent to” list in an effort to limit criminal activity, according to Abbott.
Click here for free training for the hotel industry through the Washington Hospitality Associaion.
Click here for free training for any type of employee to prevent trafficking within their day-to-day work operations.
Click here for more information on B.E.S.T.
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