Washington Area Women's Foundation

Sex trafficking continues to strike in our communities, as do solutions by local organizations.

Last week, New York Times columnist Nicolas Kristoff published a column on sex trafficking of young, American girls, stating, "The business model of pimping is remarkably similar whether in Atlanta or Calcutta: take vulnerable, disposable girls whom nobody cares about, use a mix of “friendship,” humiliation, beatings, narcotics and threats to break the girls and induce 100 percent compliance, and then rent out their body parts."

Eerily similar to a piece we posted here a while back discussing the work of our Grantee Partners fighting trafficking here in Washington, D.C., often on K Street, where The Women’s Foundation’s office is.

Oddly, the same day Kristof’s article was published, a timely reminder of how closely this issue continues to strike in my community hit my inbox, when Taylor Wilhelm, senior development officer with Polaris Project–a Grantee Partner of The Women’s Foundation with work focused on combatting human trafficking–wrote to let us know of the powerful impact of their work. 

"Recently, a trafficker was brought to justice in a case that began with a call to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline, operated by Polaris Project," she wrote.  "On a Friday afternoon, a youth educator called the hotline when her local youth center experienced the unexplained disappearances of several children. We were able to work with the caller to identify a human trafficking network, to refer the case immediately to federal authorities, and to locate the lost children in a nearby State two weeks later. They were discovered to be part of a multi-state human trafficking ring."  (See the press release.) 

Tayler closed by saying, "We greatly appreciate the many ways you all support us to make successes like this more common!"

The Women’s Foundation is proud to partner with organizations like The Polaris Project, Fair Fund and Covenant House (mentioned in the Kristof piece), to combat sex trafficking and to be part of the solution. 

As Kristof writes, "Solutions are complicated and involve broader efforts to overcome urban poverty, including improving schools and attempting to shore up the family structure. But a first step is to stop treating these teenagers as criminals and focusing instead on arresting the pimps and the customers — and the corrupt cops."

Each of these organizations understands this and is effectively working to educate their communities about the realities of trafficking, to advocate for policies and safe houses to protect victims and to collaborate with school and law enforcement officials to prevent trafficking at the outset.

The Women’s Foundation is proud to support their efforts.

Lisa Kays is The Women’s Foundation’s Director of Communications.