Leaders discuss fight against area human trafficking - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Leaders discuss fight against area human trafficking

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Human trafficking is an issue on the rise across the state of North Dakota- and not just out west, but even here in the Red River Valley.

Leaders on all sides of the fight against human trafficking gathered at the North Dakota State College of Science in Fargo this morning to learn how they can work together.

"Whether it's the heath care profession, whether it is educators, whether it is shelter groups, whether it is people who do on the ground shelter work," says U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp [D-ND].

Heitkamp and two representatives from the Department of Homeland Security hosted the discussion and training.
"How do we better treat the victims, how do we provide a safe path forward for recovery of victims and also what do we need to do in terms of prevention," says Heitkamp
Topics also included recognizing the signs of human trafficking and the new ways criminals are luring individuals. Denae Moran of Unseen Ministries works to raise awareness about combating the issue:
"You've heard so many stories and so sometimes it can be easy to just say, 'Oh, it's another story,' but every time you hear another one...every story...it's an individual person with a name," she says.
She says she picked up on a few new signs of trafficking.
"Even hearing one of the individuals talk about truck stops as such a hub within North Dakota, I think that's going to open up my eyes more when I'm at those locations to just be more aware," she says.
Heitkamp says North Dakota's workforce shortage makes us particularly vulnerable.
"As a result, if you're somebody who has 20 people you're trafficking, this is a pretty attractive area to sell their labor," she says.
Heitkamp says it's important to get educated on the signs and report what you see.  If you'd like to learn more about indicators of human trafficking, click here: http://www.dhs.gov/end-human-trafficking
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