by Martin Barrett
At the September 11, 2023, City Council Meeting, a Burien resident living across from the Ambaum tent camp testified that he had seen 4 young girls brought to the camp for raping. “On August 14, I saw an unmarked car with no license plate and blacked-out windows. It pulled up to the encampment, and a young Native American girl got out. She appeared to be about 14 years old. She had no shoes, and she was just in her underwear. I called the police, but they didn’t show up for 90 minutes. By the time the cops got there, the girl had already been raped and then discarded like trash. I have seen three other instances of children being brought to the encampments for men to rape. Each time their pimps drop them off in unmarked cars. We also know that a homeless woman, who is, in fact, a resident of the encampment, was brutally raped at gunpoint. She went to the police station and filed a report,” the resident testified.
This is consistent with reports regarding previous tent camps. With the open drug use and mental brokenness that runs rife in the camps, it is no wonder that sex trafficking is also part of the environment. (The full testimony is given below.)
At the meeting, City Manager Adolfo Bailon stated that staff estimates the cost of trash removal from the camp is $75,000 per year. Bailon reported that currently, the city has 4 to 5 staff employees who spend 2 to 3 hours at the site weekly to clean up the garbage and refuse generated and dumped by the campers. Additionally, the volume of trash requires the city to bring out a backhoe and truck, adding to the cost.
Several city councilors, including Stephanie Mora, joined Bailon in visiting a pallet village in Seattle run by Catholic Community Services. “The residents I observed were very kind to us during our visit. It appeared that the organization running it has been doing a great job of keeping it clean. I will add the village has only been open since June. The surrounding neighborhood was also clean”, Mora said in an email.
Bailon noted that should Burien pursue this option, it would take 4 to 6 months to get up and running due to permits and bureaucracy. The pallet camp they visited had 40 units. It would cost the city $1,500,000 per year to operate. However, that number would not include medical services.
Resident Testimony Regarding Trafficking and Rape of Young Girls:
“I have video surveillance of a man from the encampment attempting to break into my house. When he couldn’t get inside, he used my hose bib to bathe himself, and then he used it to drink.
“I have a son who is just over a year old and a pregnant wife, so it is very concerning that folks are living in the encampment who are attempting to break in, and the city has done nothing about it!
“I understand that the people living in those tents are human beings who are worthy of dignity and respect. I also know that many of them just need help. However, as a direct result of that encampment, our mailboxes are being broken into. Cars are being stolen, businesses are being vandalized, our backyards are being used as toilets, and our homes are being broken into. My son can’t even play in his own backyard because homeless people are using our backyard as their personal latrine!
“But the worst thing I’ve seen is the sex trafficking of underage girls. On August 14, I saw an unmarked car with no license plate and blacked-out windows. It pulled up to the encampment, and a young Native American girl got out. She appeared to be about 14 years old. She had no shoes, and she was just in her underwear. I called the police, but they didn’t show up for 90 min. By the time the cops got there the girl had already been raped and then discarded like trash.
“I have seen three other instances of children being brought to the encampments for men to rape. Each time their pimps drop them off in unmarked cars. We also know that a homeless woman, who is, in fact, a resident of the encampment, was brutally raped at gunpoint. She went to the police station and filed a report.
“For the bleeding hearts that support the encampment, these people aren’t subject to the consequences of their own ideology. It isn’t their houses being broken into. It isn’t their cars being stolen, their business being vandalized, or their backyards being used as outhouses. They don’t see the parade of young girls being sex trafficked into the tents. They certainly don’t see the explosions or hear the drive-by shootings (of which there are several).
“As I said in the city council meeting tonight, if I see one more child being offered up for some guy to rape, I’m going to go down there and handle it myself. The police are understaffed, and the city has done nothing, so it is up to the people. And if that means I have to have a physical altercation with a pimp, so be it….small price to pay if it saves a child’s life.
“And the last thing I’ll say to the people who are against any sort of camping ban. They seem to have a lot of compassion for pimps, drug dealers, and pedophiles. I wish they had the same amount of compassion for the children who are being raped in those tents.”