Sen. Mike Padden attended the international Juvenile Sex Trafficking Conference in San Diego last week, where he joined others in congratulating San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan on being awarded a Pathbreaker Award.
“District Attorney Stephan has been a national leader in the fight to end sexual exploitation of children,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “It was tremendously helpful to confer with her today to ask her advice on strategies which have worked for her that could be enacted into law in Washington state. We must employ all tools possible to prevent the sexual exploitation of our children.”
The Pathbreaker Award was presented to Stephan for her national anti-trafficking work. She pioneered and served as Chief of the Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Division Special Victims Unit in San Diego County.
Padden, who serves as the Republican leader on the Senate’s Law and Justice Committee, has also been a leader in the fight against juvenile sex trafficking. He is attending the conference in San Diego to gather ideas for new legislation that can be introduced when lawmakers return to Olympia in January.
The JuST Conference is the preeminent gathering of sex-trafficking survivors, social service providers, law enforcement and policy makers dedicated to fighting sex trafficking and bringing healing to victims. It is organized by Shared Hope International, an anti-trafficking organization founded by former Congresswoman Linda Smith and headquartered in Vancouver, Wash.