By Austin Jenkins
On Monday, Washington state’s Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen removed Republican Senator Pam Roach from the human trafficking task force. He took the action after receiving several complaints about the senator’s conduct at a December meeting of the taskforce.
Her words have gotten her in trouble many times over a long career in the Washington Senate. In a letter to Roach, Lt. Governor Owen describes her comments at the December 14th taskforce meeting as “vile.” Roach quickly launched a counter-offensive against Owen who’s a Democrat.
“He just makes it up and puts in the letter,” says Roach.
One of the allegations is that Roach accused victims of human trafficking of tattooing their faces and getting piercings in a deliberate effort to not fit in.
Roach says, “That had nothing to do with trafficking.” She was talking about homeless youth—not victims.
She says, “I probably said if you have tattoos and nose rings it might be a little difficult to get a job.”
This isn’t the first time Roach has been reprimanded by Lt. Governor Owen. In his letter he says he believes she should be removed from the state Senate based on years of “egregious and offensive behavior.”
ENCORE BROADCAST – Human trafficking is essentially modern day slavery. It’s when someone is forced or coerced with violence, deception or threats to provide labor or commercial sex, and when they’re prevented from leaving the situation. Human trafficking can occur anywhere and it does happen in our region. It can range from domestic servitude to sex trafficking, and labor to organ harvesting.
Out guests shed light on the global and economic context of human trafficking, types of human trafficking cases and what people in our communities are doing to respond to human trafficking in our region.
Velma Veloria – Former State Legislator involved in passing the first anti-human trafficking legislation in the nation
Emma Catague – Human Trafficking Victim Advocate at APIChaya
Megan Bruneau – Vice Squad Investigator of Foreign Nationals in Human Trafficking at the Seattle Police Department
Listen and download the interview here: KBCS_M+I_20130814_Human Trafficking