Thursday night’s Keeping Kids Safe event was a big success! Hollie Strand and Tifanie Petro presented an explanation of human trafficking that included the risk factors that increase a person’s chances of being trapped, the grooming process, the prevalence in our state, the drivers of the industry, the triggers that cause people to fall into trafficking, and much more! They also gave information on “sextortion” and its prevalence in today’s world. Sextortion is a crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material if you don’t provide them images of a sexual nature, sexual favors, or money. Here are a few of the key facts from the evening:

Trafficking occurs across all socioeconomic lines.

The most vulnerable people are: undocumented workers, runaways, homeless youth, individuals who are substance abusers, addicts, those who were sexually abused as a child, and people in poverty.

100,000 children are involved in the sex trade each year.

Since 2007 there have been 60 cases of trafficking in South Dakota. (As reported by the Human Trafficking Hotline)

There were 9 cases of attempted commercial sex trafficking during the 2017 motorcycle rally.

The main drivers of trafficking: pornography (77% of men view it monthly), the internet and social media, cell phones, high profitability, and low risk.

70-90% of sexually exploited children have a childhood sexual abuse history. (1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be the victim of some type of sexual abuse before age 18)

What to watch for: (at home) more than one cell phone, secret social media accounts, major change in attire, runs away or talk about it, increase in cash or new items, has papers with dollar amounts or money owed, new boyfriend that is really “different,” use of gang symbols, increased knowledge of sexual acts/porn, “property” tattoos, knowledge of backpage or similar website, minors in unusual settings, gang involvement.

What to look for: (In the community) Multiple ID’s, lies about age, information seems scripted, possessions can fit in a bag, minor with older male, lack of attendance at school, multiple unrelated people staying in a common place, possession of sex paraphernalia, doesn’t have control of visas or papers, claims to be just visiting, unexplained injuries, long hours, lack of travel knowledge.

If you see something, say something!

National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888

National Center for Missing Children Cyber Tip Line 1-800-843-5678

Pennington County Sheriff’s Office: 605-394-4131

We will upload the slide presentations from the evening soon, check back for more information!

Most of the event was recorded, click here to see it!