SEATTLE — Billionaire financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges as the newest investigation delves into allegations dating back years and involving victims as young as 14. 

The reality is that child sex trafficking is happening right here in Washington.

Often times, traffickers and predators will "groom" their victims. Grooming means they look for vulnerabilities and use those vulnerabilities gain to gain the victim's trust over time.

Licensed marriage and family therapist Patty Fleischman, the co-founder of Seattle-based StolenYouth, said it's a good thing that the Epstein arrest is being brought to light so people can learn more about what predators are looking for. 

Fleischman describes child sex trafficking as any instance where an adult pays for sex with a minor, meaning it doesn't always have to involve violence or coercion. 

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About StolenYouth

StolenYouth is a nonprofit organization with the mission to end child sex trafficking in Washington state.

StolenYouth supports a coalition of Seattle based organizations that combat child sex trafficking in Seattle. These organizations include the Center for Children & Youth Justice (CCYJ), Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), The Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS) and YouthCare. Each organization focuses on a different but equally important area of combatting child prostitution in our city.

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