By Davis Wahlman Published: Apr 18, 2014 at 4:46 PM PDT RICHLAND, Wash. –

– Tri-Cities became the first community in the state to adopt a local protocol for sex trafficking of minors. The “Tri-Cities Coalition Against Trafficking” held the signing event in Richland Friday. The coalition worked with law enforcement to create a more cohesive approach to solving sex crimes. Members from each agencies signed the protocol. “Without the willingness to be in a relationship with one another for a common purpose, you don’t get to where we are today and I think it should be a real moment for the Tri-Cities to be proud of that we’re the first in the state,” says Richland Police Chief Chris Skinner. Officers say the protocol will help all law enforcement agencies work together in tackling sex-trafficking crimes involving minors. New Protocols in Place to Deal with Child Sex Trafficking Cases in Tri-Cities

By Tracci Diel, News Anchor. Published Friday, April 18th, 2014

RICHLAND, WA – Sex trafficking kids isn’t necessarily a major problem in the Tri-Cities but that’s the point of a new partnership. It’s called the Tri-Cities Coalition Against Trafficking and a who’s who of local and state leaders kicked it off on Friday.

This is the first such partnership of its kind in Washington and that is a big accomplishment. Around 20 people, including local sheriff’s, police chiefs, prosecutors and non-profit leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding today. It’s a document that explains what each piece of the puzzle should do when investigating a potential child sex trafficking case. The collaboration is the real key to making it all work in this pro-active rather than reactive approach.

“This is exactly the way this is supposed to work. You identify a need in the community, you get the right people to the table to solve that need and you do it from a holistic, 360-degree approach,” said Richland Police Chief, Chris Skinner.

“We’re all here for the victim, regardless of the specific role that we play. By having everything highlighted in the protocol, we can remember what that role is, we know exactly what to do should and emergency situation come up. We can refer to it and it helps to train people back in our own agencies, too,” said JoDee Garretson, the co-chair and director of SARC.

This new protocol to deal with sex trafficking cases should make it easier to track the problem. Right now, we’re told it’s largely under-reported and because there has not been a plan of action, victims are not likely to come forward. Now, that is expected to change.