National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is January 11th, and experts say that this is something that happens right here in our community.
"Unfortunately, it does happen in our community," said Jessica Shindeldecker of the Fargo Police Department. "We work very closely with other agencies and this task force to make sure that we can try to mitigate that, and bring some justice to those victims and bring them out of this lifestyle."
According to their website, the North Dakota Human Trafficking Task Force has served 405 victims since 2016, both adults and minors.
"The typical victim can be anybody, so that's why it's really hard to know is it this person or this person," explained Shindeldecker. "A lot of the time its at-risk individuals, so individuals who may not have the means to provide things for themselves such as housing or food, or maybe even medical care."
As a community, officials say it's important to look out for these types of individuals and signs that something may not be right.
"Any sort of change in behavior," said Shindeldecker. "That they're emotionally withdrawn, or they're all the sudden showing up with flashy things that you know they wouldn't be able to provide for themselves."
There are resources in the community you can turn to, including the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center and Youthworks.
"Look for these signs and if you see a sign call and report it to the police," said Shindeldecker.