According to the Maryland Department of Services (formerly the Department of Human Resources), Washington County ranks fourth in the state in terms of suspected juvenile sex-trafficking victims. As a result, the county brought together a comprehensive team of government and community entities to form the Washington County Human Trafficking Task Force to help combat the issue.
Citing technology and location, Steven Youngblood, child welfare program manager for Washington County, explains in The Herald-Mail why the county has become a “hot bed” for sex trafficking:
“It’s fair to say that it’s increasing because of the information super highway — the internet — and all the social media sites,” Youngblood said of sex trafficking. “It’s a lot easier for (the perpetrators) to stay out of sight.”
Interstates 70 and 81 criss-cross the county. There are five major truck stops and multiple hotels, plus the county borders two other states. It’s within an hour of three international airports. There is a high population of runaways and the county has a growing heroin epidemic.
The article continues to explain to role the task force members will play in aggressively tackling this issue. It is also reported in the article that between June 2013 and August 2017, there were 44 juvenile sex trafficking in the county with 37 of those being from the county. Statewide, between 2012 and 2016, 201 of the 601 reported sex-trafficking victims were juveniles.
For more information read the full article in The Herald-Mail.