January marks National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The U.S. Department of Defense defines human trafficking as a crime in which force, fraud or coercion is used to compel a person to perform labor, services or commercial sex.
Lutheran Community Services Sex Assault and Crime Advocate Brigitte Yamamoto visited KHQ on January 11th, which is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. She says human trafficking takes place everyday in Spokane and its surrounding areas. Victims cross all ages, genders, and nationalities. She says anyone can be preyed upon and that perpetrators know whom to look for. Specifically, victims are vulnerable and easily coerced by perpetrators who know how to earn their trust. Advocates like Yamamoto also say violators know what to promise their victims; often it can be drugs or money. Other times, it is basic human necessities like food or shelter. Perpetrators also use threats against their victims.
Yamamoto says anyone who needs help should call the 24 Hour Local Victims Crisis Hotline at 509 - 624 - 7273