Sex Trafficking

The following announcement is from the Seattle Indian Center.

Thanks to a Department of Justice grant, the Seattle Indian Center is spearheading a new program designed to reach American Indian and Alaska Native victims of sex trafficking and exploitation. Project Beacon is a three-year program that endeavors to bring culturally-appropriate resources to victims of commercial sex exploitation and sex trafficking regardless of age or gender. The SIC is one of three centers across the United States that were selected to receive this grant.

Native populations are especially vulnerable to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation. Poverty, displacement, addiction, and family disintegration are all issues that affect American Indian and Alaska Native populations at a disproportionate rate. Local research found that nearly 25% of domestic sex trafficking victims identified as American Indian or Alaska Native, and the City of Seattle is listed as one of the top 20 cities reporting human trafficking cases. These facts add up to create a devastating picture of sexual slavery and abuse within our city limits.

Project Beacon provides a network of local resources that includes housing, legal assistance, health care, and counseling. It also offers culturally-specific opportunities for spiritual healing and community reintegration, including participating in sweat lodge ceremonies. Local tribal leadership has pledged support to Project Beacon, as well as the Seattle Police Department and the City Attorney’s office, who are meeting with program leadership to ensure that victims have the best possible opportunities to reach the help they need.

Those interested in partnering with the Seattle Indian Center or seeking assistance can reach the Program Manager, Marissa Perez, at 206-329-8700, or [email protected]. The SIC is located at 1265 S Main Street in Suite 105. The Seattle Indian Center offers education and work opportunities, including a GED program, a high school reentry program, and free computer use. They also offer a food bank, community meal program, and laundry, shower, and mail services. Operating hours for the Center are from 9:00am through 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. The SIC also offers a low-cost men’s hostel, the Sea’Sha Inn, that operates daily from 7:00pm through 7:00am.

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