Human trafficking continues to be an issue in Wyoming

   There  are a great amount of reports of human trafficking taking place in the last few years around the Wyoming and Montana area. It is also a major problem throughout North and South Dakota. An estimated 50,000 people are trafficked into the United States each year and young teenagers are the most common target. In a world where there are many sick and terrible crimes such as this, it is important to inform the public of the efforts that the nation and the state of Wyoming are taking in order to protect communities.

   The media coverage on this very important subject is not covered heavily around Wyoming. The last few articles to be published this year concerning different cases of human trafficking around this area are from August 2019. This very real danger needs to be discussed more. In order to fully inform the public, specifically the youth of many communities, the education system should be required to warn about the dangers and teach safety tips to students in order to decrease the chances of a child falling victim to a terrible crime. According to the U.S. Department of State it is strongly encouraged that students learn about human trafficking and understand that it is a constant safety concern. “Human trafficking awareness training is available for individuals, businesses, first responders, law enforcement, educators, and federal employees, amoung others,” said the U.S. Department of State. 

   Even on the national level it is a huge concern. “This is an urgent humanitarian issue, said President Donald Trump. “My administration is committed to leveraging every resource we have to confront this threat, to support the victims and survivors, and to hold traffickers accountable for their heinous crimes.” 

   On the national level their are multiple resources to report human trafficking, and there are even more resources to support the victims of these crimes, the main source being a national human trafficking hotline. 

   According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, “Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. This crime occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or solicting labor or services agaist his/her will.” To reach the hotline, victims or witnesses can call 1-888-373-7888 or they can text the number 233733. There is also a National Human Trafficking Resource Center that is a natioanl anti-trafficking hotline and resource center serving victims and the surviors of human trafficking. 

   “Our mission is to provide human trafficking victims and survivors with access to critical support and services to get help and stay safe, and to equip the anti-trafficking community with the tools to effectively combat all fors of human, trafficking.” said NHTRC. The Office of Victims of Crime is also dealing with human trafficking cases and is also providing resources to survivors.

    “Quality care, compassionate responses, and essential services are needed to help survivors recover from their victimization,” said The Office of Victims of Crime. “Creating conditions of trust and respect will help victims reclaim their lives and help victims reclaim their lives and help them move toward self- sufficiency and independence.”  On top of the national efforts there are many nonprofit organizations such as Thorn. Thorn is a digital defender organization that creates tools to help law enforcement catch human traffickers. This organization also has a main focus on the rescuing of children that are falling victim to human trafficking. 

   Recently in Wyoming, the Office for Women’s Health Administration for Children and Families has collaborated with the Wyoming Human Trafficking Task Force in order to spread awarness about the danger of human trafficking. The task force and Women’s Health Administration has given the opportunity to the public to help fund their efforts through the Victims of Crime Act grants and funds. Wyoming is the 50th state to outlaw human trafficking. On Feb. 23, 2013, it was reported that Wyoming law enforcement and officials can now respond directly to local situations of human trafficking instead of relying on the federal government to identify and prosecute certain cases. This will, therefore, decrease the chances of both labor and sex trafficking crimes to become constant. The NATSO Foundation is a main resource for the state of Wyoming that has joined the Wyoming Attorney General and the Wyoming Truckers Association in order to closely monitor and report crime. Meetings between these organizations and foundations have been arranged in order to discuss human trafficking within the state. 

   The main goal within all of these organizations, foundations, and resources is to put a stop to human trafficking and to protect the comunities on both a national and local level. Students need to be educated on the resources that are available to them, and also need to be taught the right way to deal with situations that may occur.