After a detailed opening address by Rob McKenna, Attorney General of the State of Washington, regarding the progress of human trafficking laws in Washington State, the crowd was mesmerized by David Arkless’ recount of his interactions with business leaders at the corporate level around the world.
Several years ago, David Arkless began working with international business and government leaders to start a business-facing initiative called End Human Trafficking Now. EHTN provides a code of conduct (the Athens Ethical Principles) and tools for multinational corporations to prevent trafficking.
In 2011, David and Mar forged a partnership between Washington Engage and End Human Trafficking Now. The culmination of this union was to make great headway by working with business and government leaders to produce the first anti-trafficking businesses tool for small to medium size businesses: Washington BEST Code of Conduct.
Why should local businesses care about human trafficking?
Over the past three years, more prostituted children have been rescued in Seattle than any city in the U.S. Yet studies confirm that law enforcement officers are able to rescue only a fraction of our youth who are sexually exploited for commercial purposes. Children are not the only victims of human trafficking in our state. There are also numerous cases of adults and foreign nationals who are trafficked in Washington State each year and exploited for commercial sex and/or labor. These cases pose serious risks not only to the individuals whose rights are violated but also to our local businesses. Traffickers use businesses to fund and facilitate their crimes.
The Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST) Alliance empowers local businesses to take leadership to prevent the crime of human trafficking. By taking a few simple steps, businesses not only protect the youth and the vulnerable in our communities, they protect themselves from the legal, reputational, and financial risks that trafficking poses to local businesses.
Federal Way Coalition Against Trafficking (FWCAT) leaders have taken their motivation from Mar and David to reach out to local businesses to encourage BEST practice guidelines be adhered and they will also be working with local governments to draft ordinances that will have a tremendous impact on human trafficking by requiring licensing and background checks such as recently was authorized in Macon City, Georgia.
If you are interested in joining FWCAT in removing human trafficking from the streets of Federal Way and the rest of our communities of our grand State of Washington, you may contact Roger Flygare by email at RGFlygare@aol.com or Brenda Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FWCAT hosts its monthly meeting at the Boys and Girls Club in Federal Way on the last Tuesday of every month. Please take the time and engage with us on this important issue.