FBI Frees Exploited Tri-City Juveniles

November 24, 2015 7:15 am
by David Jakeman

News of rescued abused children often brings two very different emotions. The first is relief that the children, many of them who have been held against their will, are now free. But there is often a mix of sadness as well, knowing that these children have suffered unspeakable horrors and face a long recovery from their experiences.

Arrests in Kennewick and Richland

Those in the immigrant community can be especially vulnerable to these situations of human trafficking. The lack of documentation of young immigrants can make the situations of domination that they live in to be ever more controlling. That was the case in the state of Washington, where a recent task force helped save three minors and reached out to 119 adults being forced into prostitution. A number of these adults had faced this same exploitation as minors.

In total, eleven suspects were arrested for alleged involvement in exploiting children and adults for sexual commerce and a number of related crimes. The taskforce also took possession of a number of other goods and materials, such as drugs, cash, a gun, and several cars.

The taskforce blitzed suspected places of exploitation during the beginning of October, including areas in the cities of Pasco, Seattle, and Kennewick. Immigration attorneys understand that examples of this type of exploitation is far too common, and law enforcement efforts of this nature helps rescue some of the vulnerable and also bring the problems to light.

Transition for Those Hurt

For the recently freed immigrants, making the transition back into society can be difficult. Understandably, it can be very difficult to trust others after having been so poorly treated. In order to help ease this process, they are being provided with a number of services, including employment training, counseling, housing, and other forms of assistance to help their medical and education needs.

Efforts to help stop child trafficking in Washington state are divided into two regions: the North-Central Sound and the South Sound CETF. The South Sound is based in Tacoma and brings together a wide range of law enforcement officials helping to clamp down on child trafficking. This group is headed by the FBI with help from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the Tacoma police department. Interagency coordination is very helpful in tracking down the vulnerable children.

Immigration attorneys are well aware that some of the most vulnerable members of society are undocumented immigrants. Some have unfortunately fallen prey to ruthless predators who make money by selling the bodies of their victims. The situation gets complicated by the fact that pimps often transport their victims, in this case throughout eastern and western Washington, so that they are not in the same place from week to week.1 So although there were many saved by recent law enforcement efforts, one can only think about the number of victims still being held and trafficked. Hopefully more will be saved.

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