Washington tech industry to tackle sex trafficking

SEATTLE — Many people looking for illegal sexual activities online do it at work, using work resources, according to the Washington Technology Industry Association.

The WTIA has teamed up with government supported group Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking to try and eliminate sex trafficking in the tech industry.  An event with 65 tech executives and CEOs was held Tuesday with many government officials also in attendance.

The WTIA cited research showing 75 percent of people who buy sex are white-collar workers, and more than 47 percent make more than $100,000 a year.

“It's predominantly white men exploiting women of color, and so we have an industry that has a large proportion of white men in it,” said Michael Schutzler of the WTIA.  “So we looked at this and said if we don't look at this, who will?”

Moreover, Schutzler said 75 percent of sex trafficking transactions happen at about 2 p.m., and 62 percent of prostituted people meet clients on company property.

“There are a lot of ways companies can respond to this,” said a King County Prosecutor who handles sex trafficking cases.  “One way is to have a policy that says this is not acceptable to use business products and services to buy sex.  Another way is to block certain sites.  But a really important part of this is also the culture.  What's the culture of your company going to be? How can we make that about achieving social justice, instead of social injustice?”