PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Every two minutes, a child is exploited in the sex industry. The average age is between 12 and 14, and Portland has one of the highest per-capita incident rates for sexual victimization.
A conference was held in Portland to help hotel workers and others spot the signs of sex trafficking and gave tips on what to do if you suspect it.
PPB Officer Mike Gallagher has personally talked with more than 2000 sex trafficking victims in his time on the job. Humans, he said, are the second most-lucrative commodity traded illegally after drugs and guns.
“There’s numerous victims out there that are being trafficked by the pimps. They’re forcing them to be out there and making money off of them,” Gallagher said.
Traffickers are very manipulative and prey on young girls, Gallagher said.
He and others, including Deputy District Attorney Kelley Cloyd, held a conference to instruct people on the signs of a sex trafficker.
“Things like paying with a prepaid Visa or cash at check in,” Cloyd said.
Traffickers are often proud of their work and often sport tattoos alluding to it.
If you ever suspect sex trafficking, authorities suggest immediately calling 911.
“Watch for those indicators,” Cloyd said, “and maybe save an underage girl who’s being trafficked.”