The Great Falls community is taking on some difficult conversations during No More Violence Week; on Wednesday the topic of human trafficking was once again in the forefront.
The Montana Department of Justice hosted a presentation on the topic at Great Falls College-MSU.
Children’s Justice Bureau Chief Dana Toole says departments across the country are working to address human trafficking.
She says investigations show trafficking targets both immigrants and U.S. citizens and that traffickers and their victims can be hard to spot.
Traffickers need places to work; Toole said they often take advantage of the hospitality and retail industries to conduct business.
Toole also discussed what the department is doing to address labor and sex trafficking issues in Montana.
She said the department partners with local law enforcement agencies for investigations into where trafficking occurs in the state.
"We find trafficking happening mainly along our interstate corridors, east west north south, sometimes we find it happening in other parts of the state but mainly it’s in our interstate corridors in our bigger communities," said Toole.
Shared Hope International is a global human trafficking prevention watchdog organization that gave the department a "D" letter grade in 2013.
Toole says due to legislative changes, educational outreach and law enforcement training, the Montana Department of Justice received an "A" letter grade in 2016.
For more information on human trafficking, visit the MT DOJ website, which includes this overview:
Our best weapon against this global $32 billion per year criminal industry is public awareness. Help us bring the criminal element to justice. Learn the warning signs and resources available to help.
Can YOU recognize the warning signs of human trafficking? Human trafficking victims are usually hidden in plain sight in locations you’d never think of.
- Living with employer
- Poor living conditions
- Multiple people in cramped space
- Inability to speak to individual alone
- Answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed
- Employer is holding identity documents
- Signs of physical abuse
- Submissive or fearful
- Unpaid or paid very little
- Under 18 and in prostitution