The Ugly Truth of Sex Trafficking in Portland

On January 10th, a Portland man was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison after he was convicted of sexually trafficking a girl he started grooming when she was only 11 years old[1]. Ironically, January 11th was National Sex Trafficking Awareness Day.

“Ahad Shaukak Hasan Jr. knew exactly how to starve this victim from a normal adolescence,” stated Deputy District Attorney Trista Speer, who prosecuted this case. “To him, she was a commodity and an object that he could control for his own profit.”

Human Trafficking in Portland! Yes, and this is not an isolated case. Portland State University reported that at least 469 children were victims of sex trafficking over a four-year period in the Portland Metropolitan Area[2]. The report provided the following disturbing data:

  • The average of the victims was 15 ½ years old.
  • The youngest victim was 8 years old.
  • 96% of the victims were female, 3% male and 1% transgender.
  • 5% of the victims were Caucasian, 27.1% African American and 5.1% Hispanic

Wynne Wakkila, executive director of Fight Against Sex Trafficking & Fight Against Slavery/Trafficking[3] (FAST) was kind enough to educate me on the epidemic of human trafficking in Oregon. Wynne explained that the Portland metropolitan area is a known hub for sex trafficking. Portland is second only to Las Vegas, Nevada in the number of children found in forced prostitution in the United States.

Human trafficking is the second most profitable criminal activity, after drug-trafficking in the world[4]. Sex trafficking is the exploitation of a person for commercial sexual activity through force, fraud or coercion and involves both adults and children.

Sex traffickers target victims using tailored methods of recruitment and control. Sex traffickers primarily target runaways, abuse victims or homeless youths. The victims are commonly forced into prostitution, pornography, escort services or strip clubs.

Wynne believes the City of Portland should take the following action to stop sex trafficking in our metropolitan area:

  • Mandate that all dancers have a U.S. Passport as identification. Passports are the most difficult document to forge, unlike a driver’s license.
  • Strip clubs hire dancers as consultants, avoiding the responsibility of confirming the person’s age. If a dancer is an employee of the strip club, the club becomes responsible if an under aged person is employed.
  • Establish shelters which can provide special counseling for sex traffic victims.

Sex-trafficking is a despicable, crime that targets runaways and homeless youths. I will support taking aggressive action against sex-trafficking, if I am elected to the Portland City Council in 2020.

Jack

[1] “Portland man who raped girl, 12, then sex trafficked her gets 7.5 years prison sentence” by Katie Williams, The Oregonian/OregonLive, January 11, 2010.

[2] https://wwwjustie.gov/usao-or/pr/hundreds-children-are-being-trafficked-sex-portland

[3] www.FASTNW.org

[4] Human Trafficking in Oregon: A Report of the Oregon Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Feb. 2018.

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