AG Knudsen wants to stop human trafficking in Montana and he’s holding a symposium in Billings to find ways to combat this heinous crime. The symposium is being held at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Billings and will include law enforcement, concern citizens and special task forces. 

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States and in our home state of Montana.It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.

Language barriers, fear of their traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement frequently keep victims from seeking help, making human trafficking a hidden crime.

Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. They look for people who are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters, or political instability. The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.

Many myths and misconceptions exist. Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Not all indicators listed are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.

The safety of the public as well as the victim is paramount. Do not attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to any suspicions.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, It is up to law enforcement to investigate suspected cases of human trafficking but the public’s awareness and willingness to report that is important.

AG Knudsen has invited partners to hear from during the symposium. The non-government organizations and non-profit groups help in combating human trafficking in Montana. The event is not open to the public.

The symposium is not a community event – we’ll mostly be talking to and hearing from other partners – mostly for NGOs – about human trafficking and how we can combat the problem. The AG invited certain groups to attend.