King County pushes back report on for-hire driver trafficking training

The report was originally due in October but has been extended until next spring.

A report from the King County Executive’s office on how to implement a training program to help for-hire drivers recognize signs of human trafficking will likely be pushed back to April 2020.

The report is part of a countywide effort to combat human trafficking and was discussed at an Aug. 27 county Government Accountability and Oversight Committee meeting. In particular, the report is part of a motion asking the executive’s office to develop curriculum to train drivers as part of the for-hire licensing process. Eventually, if approved, it would affect taxi, Uber and Lyft drivers.

The curriculum would be designed to raise awareness about human trafficking, help drivers identify potential victims and survivors and let drivers direct people to services. The training would be presented online and drivers would be required to pass a test before receiving certification to drive in the county. The report was initially due in October but was pushed back until next spring.

King County Councilmember Jean Kohl-Welles said the FBI projected that human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing sector in the black market worldwide.

“We are not immune to that here,” she said.

Human trafficking can include sex slavery but also forced labor. Seattle’s position as a global air and sea port lends itself to trafficking as documented in a story in the Seattle Weekly. In 2006, 22 Chinese nationals were discovered at the Port of Seattle after being crammed into a 40-foot container from Shanghai. Before that, 18 people were found on board a freighter in 2000 and three people had died during the journey.

Washington state had 163 cases of human trafficking in 2017, bringing it to the 13th highest ranked in the nation. King County launched an effort to stop human trafficking in 2018. According to the county, it’s estimated as many as 500 youth are forced into sex work every day in the county.

The motion called for the county, the Port and city of Seattle to work together to highlight the issue. A similar push was launched in 2013 that saw signs placed on Metro buses and billboards which resulted in a 500-percent increase in calls from the state to the National Human Trafficking hotline.

Sound Transit, Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines also launched public awareness campaigns in January to encourage victims of human trafficking to seek help. Many of the people who have been forced into labor or sex work in the U.S. are homeless. Additionally, victims and survivors are disproportionately people of color while most of the people charged with trafficking are white, the county said in a press release.




In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Construction begins for Downtown Park entrance

The previously delayed entryway project is expected to be finished early 2021

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

Governor Jay Inslee smiles and laughs Sept. 3, 2019, during a speech at the Lynnwood Link Extension groundbreaking in Lynnwood. A Thurston County judge ruled he exceeded his authority when he vetoed single sentences in the state transportation budget in 2019. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Judge invalidates Gov. Inslee’s veto in roads budget

Lawmakers said the governor crossed a constitutional line.

King County cases among younger adults drives increase in COVID-19 numbers

Over half of all new cases are among people ages 20-39

Kirkland man found guilty of promoting prostitution in Eastside sex trafficking ring

Authorities say suspect ran “successful enterprise” for greater half of a decade.

Public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs and similar schools and programs may resume general instruction, including in-person classes and lectures, starting Aug. 1. Pictured: The University of Washington-Bothell campus. File photo
Universities and colleges may reopen in fall, governor says

His order requires masks and physical distancing, among other measures, to help prevent infections.

Photo courtesy Bellevue Police Department. Suspected stolen merchandise.
Bellevue police arrest Renton man and others in connection to downtown Bellevue looting

Police say they’ve recovered $50,000 in stolen items and identified almost 100 suspects

During a recent training, South King Fire and Rescue members at Station 62 wear personal protective gear, which includes face masks, eye protection, gloves and gowns. Courtesy photo
Governor orders statewide use of face coverings in public

Jay Inslee says that until there is a vaccine, it’s the best weapon to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Most Read