You Can Help Stop Sex Trafficking During Water Follies
Water Follies is the biggest party weekend in the Tri-Cities. People come from all over to enjoy the festivities, and have a blast. But with an influx of people in the city, there can also be influx of crime. Drugs and sex trafficking of minors have been issues in the past, but there is one main group that has been fighting back. Stop Under Age Domestic Sex Trafficking Project (SUDS) is a group founded by Mirror Ministries, of Richland’s Bethel Church, to draw attention to traffickers who travel throughout the Pacific Northwest selling young (mostly underage) girls for sex.
SUDS offers training for hotels to identify potential illicit activity, and 44 hotels participated this year. Though year-round the group works to stop trafficking, Water Follies is the biggest weekend because the hotels are all booked solid. With hotel staff knowing what to look for it will be more helpful to identify and stop these rings. However, the hotel staff can't do it all on their won. If you're staying in a hotel this weekend (or have guests who are) here are some things you can look for to help stop these criminals.
- people leaving rooms infrequently or not at all or at strange hours
- someone monitoring the hallway
- a flow of guests going in and out of a room
- a lot of loud noises and/or men waiting in outside the room, in the hall or by a back door
- seeing fellow guests asking for food, help, money or trying to negotiate for sexual services
If you see any of these signs, it's best to report them to the authorities and the hotel management. If you feel someone is in immediate danger, always call 9-1-1. Let's have a safe and fun Water Follies and protect our community and the victims of sex trafficking, and let these criminals know we won't stand for this in our community!