Check out these great photos from last week's event with WTIA in which attendees and speakers explored the links between sex trafficking and the tech industry. More photos from the event can be found here. The event also receive a lot of great press coverage.
On May 10, the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) partnered with Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking (BEST) for a conference addressing the impact of sex trafficking the tech industry. The half-day conference brought together approximately 70 leaders to debate and resolve how tech companies can combat illegal sex in Seattle and across the nation.
Over the past decade, technology has dramatically impacted almost every facet of our lives, and that impact can be seen in the illegal commercial sex industry as well. King County Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney and BEST Advisory Board member, Valiant Richey, shared the shocking statistics and just how big of a role technology plays in virtually every one of today’s sex trafficking and sex buying cases. Richey noted that within just 2 hours of a detective posting an ad illegally selling sex, they will receive between 200-250 responses. According to Richey, “The internet is the new streets for buyers buying sex.” Arizona State University concluded that in 2014 there were approximately 6,800 buyers soliciting sex on one website in any given 24-hour period. There are over 100 such websites.
Startling Statistic Shows 63% of Prostituted People Have Visited Company Properties; Washington Technology Industry Association and Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking Host Seattle Event to Rally
Technology Community to Lead
SEATTLE, Washington — May 10, 2016 — The Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA), Washington state's unifying voice for the technology community, is hosting a conference today, in partnership with Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking (BEST), to discuss, debate, and resolve how technology companies can help combat sex trafficking in Washington. This is not just a problem in other countries – sex trafficking is alive and well in Washington and perpetrated during business hours in many industries.
An alarming amount of sex trafficking – forced prostitution – is happening on company campuses and via company computers. It’s not surprising that 78 percent of child trafficking is conducted using technology. But it is surprising that most people searching for sex online do so at 2pm, in the middle of the workday on company computers. What’s more, an ongoing study by the Organization of Prostitution Survivors (OPS) and BEST (January 2015 to present) found that 63 percent of prostituted people say they have been taken to company properties including parking garages and corporate offices. Those who participate in illegal sex activity during business travel or using company resources are exposing employers to serous risks including employee safety, company reputation damage, civil litigation, and criminal prosection.
“We were appalled when we learned of the severity and prevalence of sex trafficking among many industry sectors here in Washington State,” said Michael Schutzler, CEO of WTIA. “As the largest job creator and economic engine in our state, we believe tech companies must take a leadership role in bringing attention to this systemic issue. We’re hosting this event with our colleagues at BEST to mobilize the Washington tech community and use our collective technical expertise to help bring an end to sex trafficking.”
Thoughts from BEST on the current issues in trafficking