Community group addresses concerns of sex work on Aurora Avenue

North Seattle’s Aurora Avenue is known to many as a corridor for sex trafficking, sex work and crime. While the visibility of people selling sex on the street has decreased, its presence is still known.

On Thursday, two dozen people gathered at 125th Street Grill to talk about the issue, learn and potentially see what they can do to minimize sexual activity in their community. The meeting featured speaker Audrey Baedke, who is the co-founder of Real Escape from the Sex Trade (REST).

Baedke has worked with individuals in the sex trade for 17 years and offered insights into a complex issue.

"Silence breeds complicity, but conversation fuels change," said Baedke. "In coming together to openly discuss sex trafficking, we not only unveil harsh realities but build momentum to action that creates a better future for our community."

The goal of the meeting was to educate attendees about the current state of activity in the area, particularly on Aurora Ave. In addition, the purpose was to share valuable information on how businesses and residents can proactively address this serious ongoing problem.

FOX 13 also spoke to a sex worker who brushed off the community’s concern.

She said she doesn’t see the harm in her activity. She said her body is her business.

"It’s your choice and at the end of the day, you have to respect everyone’s hustle and how they’re getting it on their own."

When asked what REST would say or how it could help sex workers transition to an alternative path, Baedke said it's about building healthy and trusting relationships.

She also said it’s a choice a person has to make.

"You also have to consider how long can your body last doing this," Baedke added. "How long can you look in the mirror after having these experiences and everything that we believe at rest is that you deserve to be loved, and part of that is understanding as at sex work, and money cannot be intertwined. "