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March held in Missoula for ending child exploitation

Posted at 4:44 PM, Aug 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-23 13:04:05-04

UPDATE (8-22-20, 10:45 PM): MISSOULA -- National news outlets are reporting that Freedom For The Children is reportedly a group backed by the far-right conspiracy group QAnon.

NBC News national reported the ties between the protest group and QAnon and on Saturday the Utah attorney general halted a similar event in Salt Lake City after questions were raised about the event organizers.

MTN News reached out to the organizers of the Missoula rally again on Saturday evening asking if there were connections between their movement and QAnon.

Organizer Megan Clifford, a representative of United Against Exploiting Children, denies any ties to QAnon and the Missoula protest.

"I cannot speak for other rallies as it is beyond my knowledge but our group is in no way associated with QAnon," Clifford said in a statement to MTN News. "We started United Against Exploiting Children with the intent of keeping conspiracies out and only disseminating factual information. Our number one rule to keep politics and conspiracy out of our discussions and to not allow information that is not backed by a reliable reputable source.

"QAnon is not what our movement represents and is in no way connected to this movement that I know of. Our movement represents saving children, making a safer community, bring awareness, education, supporting survivors, reforming state laws and staying focused on child sex trafficking."

According to CNN, "QAnon's prevailing conspiracy theories -- none based in fact -- claim that dozens of Satan-worshipping politicians and A-list celebrities work in tandem with governments around the globe to engage in child sex abuse. The group also peddles in conspiracies about coronavirus and mass shootings -- none grounded in reality. Followers also believe there is a 'deep state' effort to annihilate Trump."

ORIGINAL (8-22-20, 4:44 PM): Groups of people were walking in downtown Missoula on Saturday afternoon in an effort to bring awareness to children that are victims of human trafficking and exploitation.

The march was part of a global movement with the Freedom For The Children and United Against Exploiting Children groups. The groups are coming together to bring awareness to exploitation of children in the United States and across the world.

Marchers gathered at Caras Park with their signs and megaphones.

People walked from the park to the three X's in downtown Missoula, working their way to McCormick Park, where speakers were waiting to talk about the issue.

Organizers want to emphasize that this is not a one-time event. They say this needs to be spoken about until children who have been victims get justice.

"We are going to go where the people are and where we are going to get the most attention and coverage from the community, so we can get the word out continuously, because this does not end with just one event this will be ongoing until we put an end to child trafficking and exploitation," said Megan Clifford, an organizer for the event.

"And this is a global, annual event, so we will be back next year," said MeriLee Watne, the head organizer for Freedom for the Children Montana.