Local campaign strives to end sex and labor trafficking across the country

One local organization is working to build awareness for the issues of human trafficking and provide lifelines for victims.

Officials report hundreds of girls are trafficked for sex throughout King County.

National numbers show in 2020, there was a 22% increase in online recruitment for trafficking. 

These issues are the reason why the local organization BEST (Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking) created the Not Alone campaign.

"We want to speak directly to survivors and give them the chance to self-identify," said Rebekah Covington.

Covington is the corporate relations manager for BEST. She came up with the idea for the Not Alone campaign.

The campaign created posters that are specifically geared toward speaking to the victims of trafficking, and provides them with the resources they need to escape.

More than 50 government agencies, government leaders, and transportation hubs both in Washington State, and across the country are partnering with the campaign.

Covington believes this simple campaign may be the lifeline that helps people find freedom. 

Unfortunately, she is familiar with the trauma of being trafficked.

"I got driven up to Aurora {Avenue}, and he said ‘get out of the car. This is where you’re going to be working. And don’t try to leave,’" she said.

As a teenager, Covington says a traumatic experience affected her emotionally. She says due to her behavior, at 18 years old, her parents kicked her out of the house.

She says during this time, a trafficker targeted her, coerced her, and groomed her for trafficking. Then, manipulated her into believing she did not have any other options.

"They tell you threats, ‘if you leave, I’ll kill your family, I’ll burn down your house.’ So, you’re scared to leave," she said.

For nearly two years, Covington says she was trafficked here in Washington, and across the country. She says it was divine intervention that got her out of that life.

Now, nearly two decades later, she hopes the Not Alone campaign will be the intervention to help others escape.

"I already had that hope inside me, you know. So, I think that if I saw that it would have given me the ability to exit," she said.

For more information on the work that BEST is doing, and resources for human trafficking, click here. 

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