Human trafficking prevention conference held in Missoula
MISSOULA – Statistics show one in three minors who run away from home will be approached or lured into prostitution within 48 hours.
“Human trafficking simply put is insidious. It’s evil. It’s exploits our youth and sometimes even kills them,” said Montana Attorney General Tim Fox. “That’s why events like this conference and partnerships with other agencies, groups, and individuals are so important.”
The average age of a minor involved in sex trafficking is 14 as pimps will target vulnerable teens and lure them with money, drugs and promises of a better life before selling them for hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Local and state officials hosted the Stop Human Trafficking in Montana Conference Friday, in an effort to help people better understand how to identify, and help these victims.
“It’s amazing that this day in age we’re talking about slavery. It went away a long time ago but that’s exactly what human trafficking is, slavery,” said Montana Senator Jon Tester. “It is also a multi-billion-dollar criminal industry that is robbing over 200 million folks of their freedom.”
Police say the internet has helped make this the second most prominent crime in the world, behind illegal drug trade. Websites like backpage.com and craigslist have been used to solicit sex and advertise victims.
Fox says it happens everywhere — big cities, small towns, hotels, truck stops and anywhere in between. He asks Montanans to be aware of suspicious activity when traveling and always notify police.
“It’s vital that we get people talking, and build networks so we can build strong defenses against human trafficking in our communities. Before it robs more of our young people of their potential, and their chance of a healthy and productive life,” Fox said.
Click here to learn more about the signs of human trafficking.