SPOKANE, Wash.--Sex trafficking is a big business in the Inland Northwest. Leaders in the fight against illegal sex trade gathered at Gonzaga University on Tuesday for a forum.
The state of Washington was given an A grade for their fight against sex trafficking.
“People that go out and target young girls, stalk them and try to recruit them into the seedy underworld and will beat them or rape them and do all sorts of things to keep them involved,” said Senator Mike Padden.
The Canadian border, port cities and lots of land to operate make the State of Washington a haven for the sex trade according to officials.
Senator Mike Padden from the Spokane Valley spearheaded and helped pass legislation in the last session to stop human trafficking in Washington State.
Padden said while it is difficult to track the actual numbers the anecdotal effects are clear.
“They can require these young gals to be doing up to 15 sex acts a day...there's all sorts of money they make on it,” said Senator Padden.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has also been a big leader in the fight. He said sex trafficking can be anything from pimps selling girls on the street to criminals who advertise sex for sale on websites like backpage and craigslist. He said many of the women are held against their will.
“They'll come into the area, stay about three days, conclude their business then move on because any longer than 3 days they can start being detected,” said Knezovich.
Padden said Washington has come a long way but said the fight is not over.
“Hopefully we can be a model to other states,” said Senator Padden.