What WashACT is
WashACT is a multidisciplinary task force convened in 2004 by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington (USAO-WDWA). It is co-chaired by the International Rescue Committee in Seattle (IRC in Seattle), the Seattle Police Department (SPD), and USAO-WDWA and its mission is to ensure that victims of trafficking receive all resources available to them and that human traffickers are identified, investigated, and prosecuted to the utmost extent of the law. IRC in Seattle and SPD have received joint Enhanced Collaborative Model grants from the Department of Justice since 2011 to support WashACT’s work.
In addition to the co-chairing agencies, WashACT is made up of around 41 member entities that represent nonprofit organizations, local, state, and federal agencies, and city- and federal-level law enforcement. The WashACT leadership team is a sub-group of task force partners working directly on human trafficking cases and is comprised of WARN staff who support survivors involved in investigations and prosecutions; law enforcement agents working cases from SPD and HSI; the Assistant US Attorney designated as the Human Trafficking Point of Contact at the USAO-WDWA, who leads human trafficking prosecutions; and the chairs of WashACT’s four subcommittees.
What WashACT does
WashACT members collaborate regularly with one another to:
• Share information on the issue of human trafficking, discuss developments in the field, and increase awareness of resources for survivors;
• Identify and remedy gaps in services for survivors; and
• Coordinate the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases.
WashACT members tackle these issues through scheduled WashACT general and subcommittee meetings as well as outside of the formal task force setting thanks to relationships forged by participating in WashACT activities.
Why WashACT addresses all forms of HT
As recognized by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, WashACT seeks to address all forms of human trafficking. Service providers and law enforcement agencies in Western Washington have identified great numbers of survivors of both sex trafficking and labor trafficking over the years and all of these individuals may choose to access supportive services (watraffickinghelp.org) and legal recourse (justice.gov) after exiting their trafficking situation.
WashACT offers quarterly information sessions to introduce members of the public and professionals in the anti-human trafficking field to the issue of trafficking, what WashACT is, and how we foster collaboration within our network. In 2022, we are offering four info sessions on February 17, April 28, August 25, and November 10. Contact the WashACT coordinator to sign up! All info sessions are occurring online until further notice.
WashACT membership is open to anyone working professionally on the issue of human trafficking! If you are interested in joining, please start the process by attending an info session!
• Ten successive years of Enhanced Collaborative Model grant funding from the Department of Justice to support the progress being made in Washington to meet the needs of human trafficking survivors.
• Collaboration among partners to investigate 189 potential cases of trafficking since 2004.
• Identifying and providing services to over 750 survivors of trafficking since 2004 through the Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network.
• Prosecuting more than 99 human trafficking-related cases since 2004. In 2019-2020, the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington had 14 human trafficking investigations open involving 31 victims and prosecuted four cases involving nine victims.
• SPD opening 36 trafficking cases involving 32 victims in 2019-2020.
• Regular technical assistance to task forces and agencies across the country on how to successfully collaborate and serve trafficking survivors.
Key WashACT Contacts
For information about Seattle Police Department’s response to labor trafficking, call the Investigative Support Unit
For information about Seattle Police Department’s response to sex trafficking, call the High Risk Victims Section