The Issue

SEX TRAFFICKING means (1) the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel an adult into a commercial sex act like prostitution or (2) engaging a minor in a commercial sex act.

COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION (CSE) of an adult means another person or circumstance such as systematic discrimination, poverty, prior victimization or trauma, substance abuse, lack of housing, education, healthcare, documentation or any other basic need or vulnerability compels the adult to enter or remain in the sex trades. Exploiters take advantage of differences in age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or social and economic power to sexually exploit more vulnerable people. Commercial sex markets—prostitution, pornography, sugaring, sex tourism, etc—were built upon and perpetuate INEQUITY and VIOLENCE against our most marginalized populations.

Gender Inequity

“I bought sex because I love sex,
but I hate women.”

- Seattle Sex buyer

Racial Inequity

“I made a list in my mind. I told myself that I’ll be with different races e.g. Japanese, Indian, Chinese... Once I have been with them I tick them off the list. It’s like a shopping list.”

- Sex buyer

LGBTQ2S+ Inequity

"[Buyers] talk down, they get physical, they hit you and you got to learn to defend yourself."

- 19 years old, male, CSE survivor
"Prostitution isn’t the oldest profession.
It’s the oldest oppression."

- Gloria Steinem
"The sex trade is a haven for racial violence in this country. It violates the most basic human rights of women and girls of color, largely with impunity, as it has for centuries."

- Christen Price, Esq.
"[Prostitution] is transphobic because it thrives off the vulnerability of trans women and fetishizes them."

- Esperanza Fonseca


Prostitution has never existed without violence, slavery, patriarchy, and class oppression.

- Esperanza Fonseca
80-99% experience violence or assault
84% are under third-party control
68% meet criteria for PTSD

WASE Forward aims to increase healing, support, and transition services for adults with lived experience of sex trafficking in Washington.