Information gathered from Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons website. To learn more about Human trafficking and what you can do to help, please visit itemp.org
Human trafficking is often a distant or not even considered issue for many in the state of North Dakota but over the past several years the issue of human trafficking within the state has been brought to light.
The oil boom brought an influx of people looking for work and some of them just looking for easy money. With the oil boom in decline, those issues may be moving east. Residents in Cavalier County should take this serious issue to heart and learn the ways to identify and help the victims it affects.
Cavalier County Commissioner Elsie Magnus learned about human trafficking at a recent church convention during a workshop that was presented by Patrick Atkinson and Paul Maloney of The God’s Child Project and Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons (ITEMP).
“The reality is that human trafficking is taking place all around us right here in North Dakota,” Magnus said.
Human trafficking is the modern form of slavery and involves the movement of people by means of violence, deception or coercion for the purpose of forced labor, servitude or slavery-like practices.
Today, human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world after drug dealing and, even more disturbing, is that it is also the fastest growing. Traffickers generate billions of dollars, some estimates put the number at $150 billion annually by victimizing millions of people around the globe.
“I don’t think we can pretend trafficking doesn’t exist here in Cavalier County and we all know that trafficking exists in the state,” Magnus stated.
Trafficking is a criminal industry driven by the substantial profits and the low risk of the traffickers, themselves, facing prosecution. Far from having disappeared from the face of the earth, the slave trade has modernized and essentially gone underground as perpetrators of trafficking and forced labor victims number over 20 million human beings globally. According to U.N. statistics, 80 percent of human trafficking victims are women and 50 percent are children.
Within the United States, an estimated 100,000 children are trafficked each year. Individuals are trafficked in virtually every state of the U.S. for the purposes of agricultural forced labor, domestic servitude, “mail-order-brides”, and as sex workers.
Victims of sex trafficking might end up working in brothels, “escort” services, unlawful massage businesses, strip clubs or simply in street prostitution. In America alone, there are nearly 3,000,000 adults and 100,000 children sex trafficking victims who are forced to work as prostitutes. As long as the demand is high and the risks are low, trafficking will exist no matter what but what many don’t know is how to combat human trafficking.
• If you believe an adult or child is being held or forced to work against their will, contact the proper authorities immediately.
• If you believe a child is being exploited, contact the proper authorities immediately.
• If you witness or learn of an incident of forced labor or sexual exploitation, report it immediately to your local police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, or the FBI. You could save a life!
• Gather as much information about the incident as you can, but do not place yourself at risk and do not directly intervene. These situations are often very dangerous, and you place yourself and the victim at further risk.
• If you report a suspected human trafficking crime, please consider making yourself available to testify. Your participation may make the difference.
For Magnus, informing the residents of Cavalier County about human trafficking and how, as a community, we can work together to reduce the risk and potential for human trafficking is highly important to her.
“Protection of the vulnerable, our children and adults, must start with parents and caring adults: teachers, church leaders, coaches, organizations,” Magnus said.
“Bullied children are prime subjects for predators and statistically one of every 10 kids quit school because of bullying,” Magnus added, ”I don’t think children are the only ones doing the bullying, and they are not the only victims.
After that fateful presentation, Magnus gathered informational pamphlets for various age ranges to help bring the topic of human trafficking to the forefront and open it to discussion.
“Each informative pamphlet differs in that it is appropriate for a different age level,” Magnus explained.
“Talking About Human Trafficking” is for Grades 3-6, “Human Trafficking and Teens” is for Grades 7-12, and “Human Trafficking and Teens: The Response of Adults” is the adult pamphlet which advises parents how to be proactive about discussing how to stay safe with children.
Magnus has already distributed several pamphlets to local churches and more pamphlets are available. Please contact Elsie Magnus at 701.370.2089 for delivery. Magnus is also willing to present the information and distribute the pamphlets to schools/churches/organizations.