Jun 11, 2013 7:15 PM by Melissa Rafferty - KPAX News
WASHINGTON, DC - Senator Max Baucus says rising crime in areas such as the Bakken oil fields lead to the increased exploitation of children.
The Democrat hosted a panel of survivors on Tuesday in the nation's capitol addressing the controversial topic of sex trafficking.
It's an issue that surprisingly hits close to home for Montana, where a Kalispell survivor was once drugged at a party when she was 15, and sold in exchange for money and drugs.
Statistics show that at least 100,000 children are affected each year, and Baucus says most of them are between 12 and 14 years old.
"We cannot sit by and allow any more children to suffer in silence. These are our sons and our daughters. It's our job to protect them," said Baucus.
Meanwhile, a social worker told the panel that sex trafficking isn't on the minds of most Montanans, but they need to know it exists.
Baucus called the discussion the first step in taking the necessary action to combat this undercover crime.