Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen works alongside local Human Trafficking Task Force groups to provide training videos for law enforcement, prosecutors, and different facets of the community.
Tara Bradford, the chair of the Gallatin County Human Trafficking Task Force, reports that last year the human trafficking hotline received 15 calls originating in Gallatin County. On a state level, in 2021 there were 68 investigations and cases collected through the Department of Justice.
“We’re not going to tolerate it here in Montana, and that’s what this is about,” Knudsen said. “We’re training our law enforcement officers in human trafficking, we’re training our county attorneys.”
Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer notes that it’s important to remain ahead of the issue and finds it important that new education—such as these videos—will do nothing but assist officers in recognizing the signs of human trafficking.
“You hear around the country when people start getting trained on it, they realized they missed it earlier,” Springer said.
Knudsen describes that a victim is not always what you imagine—boys, girls, men, women, and any race and age can be subject to trafficking, according to the attorney general.
With this in mind, signs that an individual is being trafficked may be a lack of locational awareness, dressed inappropriately for the weather, or accompanied by and under the control of an older individual.
Jenny Jo Allen, Co-Chair of the Prevention Committee at the Park County Human Trafficking Task Force describes that people may not grasp what it looks like to be trafficked.
“If someone thinks human trafficking looks like kidnapping, handcuffing to a wall and changing someone there…if those are the images of human trafficking in their mind, then they’re not going to see the victims that are right under their noses,” Allen said.