This year, multiple accounts of sexual harassment and misogyny ripped the reputation of major companies, including Google, to shreds. Now, it looks like those problems are about to get worse.
Newsweek reports it has received emails that show employees were involved in sex trafficking. Emails sent to brothels and pimps from 2014 to 2016 show routine patronage. Even worse, the properties employ sex trafficked employees.
A public records request to the King County Prosecutor’s Office revealed the new scandal. Companies involved include Microsoft, Boeing, T-Mobile, Oracle, and Amazon. Microsoft alone had 67 emails. Amazon came close behind with 63.
Some of those emails were part of a 2015 sting operation that targeted sex worker review boards. Many higher-ups in Microsoft and Amazon were arrested in the operation. Of the eighteen individuals arrested, two opted for a trial. Those trials will begin in March.
Like a fungus, Seattle’s sex trafficking industry has grown right alongside the tech industry. Some men in tech spend a reported $50,000 per year on prostitutes. Some brothels even advertise their close proximity to the tech offices.
Microsoft responded to the allegations by Newsweek:
Microsoft has a long history of cooperating with law enforcement and other agencies on combating sex trafficking and related topics, and we have employees who volunteer their time and money specifically to combat this issue as well. The personal conduct of a tiny fraction of our 125,000 employees does not in any way represent our culture. No organization is immune to the unfortunate situation when employees act unethically or illegally. When that happens, we look into the conduct and take appropriate action. Microsoft makes it clear to our employees they have a responsibility to act with integrity and conduct themselves in a legal and ethical manner at all times. If they don’t, they risk losing their jobs.
Amazon also released a statement:
Amazon’s Owner’s Manual clearly states that, ‘It is against Amazon’s policy for any employee or Contingent Worker to engage in any sex buying activities of any kind in Amazon’s workplace or in any work-related setting outside of the workplace, such as during business trips, business meetings or business-related social events.’ When Amazon suspects that an employee has used company funds or resources to engage in criminal conduct, the company will immediately investigate and take appropriate action up to and including termination. The company may also refer the matter to law enforcement.
Recently, Amazon found itself in the middle of another controversy. A driver defecated in front of a delivery recipient’s house.
For the tech industry, 2018 can’t come soon enough. #NewYearNewMe