GREAT FALLS - Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen hosted a human trafficking roundtable in Great Falls on Thursday.
The forum included state and community leaders, law enforcement, and advocates to discuss solutions and raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking in the Great Falls area and around the state.
- RELATED: Overcoming manipulation and pain: Human trafficking survivor shares her story
- RELATED: Law enforcement cracking down on human trafficking in Montana
The Montana Department of Justice tracked 68 human trafficking cases in 2021, up from just seven cases reported in 2015.
"Most Montanans don't think this is really a problem in Montana. They seem to think it's an out-of-state problem. A big city problem. It is a huge issue in Montana," Knudsen stated.
"It's extremely relevant in Montana. I can guarantee probably most people in Montana have seen a human trafficking victim, but because they didn't know what they were seeing, they didn't know to report it," he continued.
Signs to look for in a human trafficking victim:
- They have no personal possessions
- A minor with an unrelated and non-age appropriate looking male or an over-controlling “boyfriend” and sometimes another female, as they can recruit other females to become slaves.
- Minors at hotels, strip clubs or truck stops.
- Appearance of lack of sleep or nutrition.
- Unexplained injuries.
You can help stop human trafficking. If it's an emergency, call 911. For a non-emergency, you can call 1-833-406-STOP.