HILLSBORO, Ore.- The Washington County District Attorney’s Office is proudly participating in National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. While most across the county may not realize what a pressing issue human trafficking is, statistics show the illegal trade is thriving in the Portland Metro area.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there were 79 human trafficking cases reported to authorities in Oregon in 2017. That’s in addition to the nearly 300 calls to various law enforcement agencies to report possible abuse taking place across the state.

In Washington County, the numbers are even more startling. According to Allie Martin of the group Safety Compass, there were 44 cases involving Commercial Sexual Exploitation from March to December of 2018 in Washington County. What’s more, 43 of those cases involved victims under the age of 18.

That’s why authorities across Washington County have combined their resources to create the Washington County Human Trafficking Task Force. This task force helps coordinate sex trafficking investigations and prosecutions, while also providing victims and survivors the resources they need to move forward.

The task force chair, Deputy District Attorney Allison Brown, works closely with law enforcement and community partners to protect victims and hold offenders accountable. 

“The task force has united key players within the county who are dedicated to protecting children and vulnerable victims. While these crimes most often occur in private, this collaboration is essential to combating sex trafficking. Our collaboration has already resulted in multiple victims and offenders being identified within our community,” Brown said of the accomplishments of the task force.

Safety Compass is also a key partner in this initiative. Martin serves as a coordinator for the program and says the collaboration across various agencies is vital to helping put an end to human trafficking.

“Safety Compass is a proud partner on this task force. We know we can be much more effective working as a team to help protect these victims. We have already seen the benefits of this collaboration and know it will only grow over time,” Martin said.

To learn more about resources available to victims and survivors of human trafficking or other crimes, visit the District Attorney’s website.

January 04, 2019