I was told last night (thank you, Officer Bit) about a case that was prosecuted in Everett. I've included a link to the article. If you have a minute, please read it.
If you haven't told me you'd like to see Call + Response on the 15th, please let me know soon. I hope to purchase tickets early next week.
The saddest part to me is how quickly, in the posted response, people blame the women. Yes - there is a very good possibility they should have used better judgment. Have none of us made a mistake that snowballed into something out of our control? So long as he was exercising control over these women and forcing them to "work" for him, he was a trafficker.
I also have to wonder at what we're teaching our children when we assign the term "nice guy" to someone who was obviously making his money illegally...
As for him having to reimburse the women - if they were forced to prostitute themselves on his behalf - regardless if it's illegal activity or not - it was not work they chose for themselves and they were unable to work at any other job in that time period. He would have never allowed it. He owes them those lost wages, lost taxes and lost benefits.
We can't speak to what those women did and did not know about him, about what they were doing and what they were getting themselves into. We weren't there. Unless you have had it happen to you, you cannot begin to imagine how someone can gain control of another human being so incredibly fast if they want to do it.
I applaud the federal prosecutors who went after this man. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Trafficking will remain an unseen crime so long as those who commit it aren't or can't be prosecuted (evidence can be really tough to gather). I don't know every fact of the case but it is trafficking if he forced or coerced those women into prostituting themselves, even if he didn't kidnap them.
There is probably more to write, this post feels unfinished. Perhaps I'll edit it later.