History

Washington Engage was co-founded by Rose Gundersen and Deana Berg. Combining their legal education, business and non-profit experience, they organized three Anti-Trafficking Engagement days to support the development and passage of anti-human trafficking bills into law. From 2010-12, their work resulted in 20 bills passed into law to protect victims and punish perpetrators. Before these laws were passed, children were victimized by traffickers and by laws which called them criminals because their sexual abuse included the exchange of goods. In 2012, Washington State’s human trafficking laws were ranked the highest of all 50 states and received a perfect score rating in 2013 from Polaris Project. Top rated laws and increasing awareness are just the beginning - that is why in 2013 we launched the Coalition Against Trafficking Initiative to move awareness into coordinated action. This lead to the formation of the Pierce, Skagit and Thurston County Coalitions Against Trafficking. We now focus on preventing human trafficking through equipping the vulnerable and engaging communities. 

In 2016 Washington Engage rolled out two pilots of the newly formed Take On: Youth Empowerment Program to the Yakima School District and the Thurston County Juvenile Detention Center. Finding success and lasting change within the students the caring adults in their lives, the program has since been fully implemented.

In 2018 Washington Engage changed its name to Washington Trafficking Prevention and continues to spread the reach of the Take On Program to local schools and youth-serving agencies with the support of the Coalitions Against Trafficking.