Proposal Directs Cash From Pimps To Victims 10-27-2010 - KPTV - FOX 12

Proposal Directs Cash From Pimps To Victims 10-27-2010

The Portland City Council will consider a proposal Wednesday to help victims of sex trafficking by using assets seized from pimps and johns.
Under the proposal, any seized items used in prostitution crimes, such as cell phones, cars, computers and cash, will be directed toward funds for sex trafficking victims. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds would go towards victim services, and the remaining 25 percent would be used for law enforcement operations to fight trafficking.
“Women are becoming victims of trafficking at an alarming rate,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who says this revenue source would be the city’s first sustainable source of funding dedicated to combating the growing problem. “We’re going to be more aggressive in our enforcement. We expect to be making more arrests of pimps and johns.”
The Sexual Assault Resource Center helped write the proposal. Executive Director Erin Ellis said her case managers are currently handling around 120 cases of commercially sexually exploited girls under the age of 18 in Portland alone. She estimates there are hundreds more cases across Oregon.
“We see more youth than we can serve,” said Ellis, who also said the exploited teens don’t receive any of the money they earn. “That goes back to their pimp, and so here’s a way in which the money that they’ve earned is finally coming back to the form of support services.”
“I think any help is good,” said Jessica Richardson, a local survivor of sex abuse and sex trafficking, who’s now speaking out about the issue to raise awareness. “Without awareness, nothing gets done; nothing gets funded. Laws don’t change,” said Richardson. “We have to change legislation. We have to get help for other survivors out there.”
Portland City Council will take up the proposal during their Wednesday meeting, which begins at 9:30 a.m. The item is considered an emergency ordinance, meaning if passed, it would take effect immediately.
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