County Council passes measure to require sex trafficking awareness training for Uber, Lyft drivers

How to spot victims, survivors and report incidents

  • Wednesday, September 11, 2019 12:31pm
  • News
County Council passes measure to require sex trafficking awareness training for Uber, Lyft drivers

The King County Council on Wednesday approved legislation that will lead to a requirement that for-hire drivers, including those with Uber and Lyft, receive sex trafficking awareness training as part of their county licensing process.

Sponsored by Council members Jeanne Kohl-Welles, District 4, Reagan Dunn, District 9, and Claudia Balducci, District 6, the motion asks that the King County executive create a training program that will teach drivers not only to spot potential sex trafficking victims and survivors but also how to report such instances and provide victims with information about support services. Wednesday’s approval sets a deadline of April 2020 for a report detailing what the training program might look like.

“Rideshare and taxi drivers are often on the front lines of the human trafficking trade,” Kohl-Welles said in a county news release. “By providing them with training about this horrific practice, they will be better able to recognize when someone is being trafficked and know what steps to take in response to connect potential victims to information to get them help and to safety.”

The training would impact thousands of drivers. In 2017, 2,453 taxi and for-hire drivers were licensed in King County, along with 27,842 transportation network company (app-based rideshare) drivers who had permits from the county.

“For-hire and taxi drivers are in a unique position to be allies in the fight against human trafficking,” Dunn said. “This training will ensure that more victims and survivors of trafficking are seen and offered help when they need it most.”

King County has undertaken a broad approach to raising awareness around human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, an issue deemed by the FBI to be the second-largest and fastest-growing black market in the world. In 2011, the county designated King County Metro buses as a National Safe Space Partner, part of a national program to provide outreach and support services for youth in crisis. A year later, the King County Council led efforts to develop an anti-human trafficking public awareness campaign across Metro buses and properties, which expanded through partnerships both with private organizations and with the city of Seattle. The campaign included signs on Metro buses and billboards along roads in the county.

The council has more recently called for further expansion of this awareness campaign.

“People who are trafficked against their will are some of the most vulnerable in our community,” Balducci said. “With proper training, drivers can act as our eyes and ears, identifying and reporting trafficking to stop this exploitation.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Stock photo
Calls that Social Security number has been ‘compromised’ leads to $400,000 scam

SeaTac man indicted for mail fraud in scheme that stole money from elderly victims

t
Man returned to King County to face Kent murder charge

Paul Dervin accused of killing his wife Nov. 30 in her West Hill home

t
Construction along 76th Avenue South in Kent nears completion

Road was raised 3 feet to help reduce flooding

A crew member works at the Sound Transit light rail Operations and Maintenance Facility in Seattle. Sound Transit plans to build a similar facility in either Federal Way or Kent. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit
Sound Transit to release draft EIS March 5 for light rail maintenance facility

3 sites under consideration; 2 in Federal Way and 1 in Kent

Photo courtesy of South Sound News
2-year-old child, woman rescued from Auburn house fire

Fire started in the garage around 11:40 p.m. Jan. 20 near the 30100 block of 50th Lane S.

West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant. Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Ecology.
EPA loans King County $96.8 million to prevent untreated water from spilling into Puget Sound

Loan comes a week after an over 10 million gallon overflow into the Puget Sound and Lake Washington.

Melanie Taylor/Courtesy Photo
Puget Sound Fire’s Taylor chosen Educator of the Year

Washington Public Fire Educators select her for 2020 honor

National Guard troops, pictured Jan. 11 at the state Capitol in Olympia, have been on standby in case of violent protests. (Photo by Roger Harnack, Cheney Free Press)
At the state Capitol, a quiet day amid heightened security

There were no protests or arrests as troopers patrolled and the National Guard assumed a lower profile.

Most Read