Human Trafficking in the Pacific Northwest

This article comes from Robin Phillips at UNpragmatic Thoughts. Phillips and his family reside in the northwest, and the article mentions trafficking operations in Eastern Washington and the Tri-cities.

Human Trafficking in the Pacific Northwest

“You Work For Me Now”

Amber grew up in foster care, spending time with various families in Eastern Washington. Although Amber was popular at school and appeared well-adjusted to the outside world, she struggled to believe in her own self-worth. She spent time with some loving families, yet she always knew that people were taking care of her only because they were paid to.

While Amber’s school friends looked forward to growing up and going to college, Amber knew that once she reached seventeen, she would be on the street. Six months before aging out of foster care, at the bus station Amber met a man named Randy.

Randy showed a real interest in Amber and bought her some drinks at Starbucks. It felt special to have someone showing her attention, especially since she had always struggled to feel accepted. Over the next couple of months, Amber met Randy regularly. It was all innocent, and nothing in their interactions would have signaled alarm.

When Randy learned that Amber was about to age out of foster care and had nowhere to go, he mentioned that his friend Craig had a spare room where she could stay for free.

So Amber moved into Craig’s apartment. At first, everything seemed to go alright. She saw a lot of Randy, who would often come over to Craig’s apartment, and who continued to treat her as if she were special.

After a few weeks, Craig asked Amber to deliver a bag to a friend a few blocks away. Amber thought nothing of it and made the delivery. Over the next couple weeks Amber was asked to do more deliveries.

After making about half a dozen deliveries, it began to dawn on Amber that she was delivering drugs. Amber felt she couldn’t say no to Craig since he was giving her a place to stay.

Eventually, Craig and Randy introduced Amber to four other girls who “worked” for them. Everything was clear now: Randy and Craig were pimps, running a highly lucrative prostitution business…

Click here to read the rest of the story at UNpragmatic Thoughts.

Phillips also has a follow up article about how Spokane is trying to deal with the pornography/human trafficking problem. This one was originally published in Salvo Magazine.

How One City Is Challenging the Porn-Trafficking Axis

n the surface, Spokane, Washington, seems like any other big city in the Pacific Northwest. Yet it is a city in the grip of a public health crisis. On February 23, 2019, a nationally assembled team of doctors, academics, sociologists, psychologists, and law enforcement officers met at Spokane’s Gonzaga University to examine the city’s crisis and to educate citizens how to mount an effective response.

The crisis in question concerns the pervasive use of pornography in the city.

In many respects, Spokane is a cameo of America as a whole, where the widespread use of the smartphone has enabled the sex industry to begin realizing its goal of making porn affordable, anonymous, accessible, and addictive.

It is this last point—the addictive nature of porn—that was a key focus at the Gonzaga conference. The conference was also set up to expose the links between porn addiction and human trafficking.

Big Porn & the Degradation of Women

Two days before the conference, I had a phone conversation with Dr. Alfonso Oliva, a Spokane surgeon who helped put on the symposium.

“The entire sex industry is interwoven,” Dr. Oliva said. “One really has to understand this. We’re talking about an industry that is at least $13 billion in the U.S. and $100 billion worldwide. It’s an incredibly powerful business.”

Dr. Oliva went on to explain how the underground trafficking industry is being propped up by Big Porn. “Many porn addicts want to try out for themselves the type of sexual exploitation they see in pornographic videos. Men see women being degraded and then start to think this is normal.”

“Moreover,” he continued, “as the porn industry has encouraged the gratification of oneself at the cost of another, it has created the social and psychological infrastructure for trafficking. In fact, there is a powerful trafficking trade right here in Spokane and the surrounding areas.”

A Wide Spectrum of Trafficking Activities

I wondered if Dr. Oliva was exaggerating about the trafficking problem in the area. After all, I had lived on the outskirts of Spokane for over twelve years and never heard anything about trafficking. So I began searching the archives of Washington newspapers to find out how widespread sexual exploitation actually is in this region…