October 6, 2016

Trafficking still a major problem

By Jerry W. Kram
 
While the oil boom has faded over the last year, the problems it brought to the region linger on.
Officers with the New Town Police Department attended a training with Youthworks counselors Amy Jacobson and Sara Eastman on how to spot and approach possible victims of human trafficking they may come across in their regular duties. Youthworks is administering a grant that provides counselors to work with trafficking victims and work with law enforcement agencies to get victims off the street. Eastman said the grant also requires Youthworks to collect much needed data about trafficking in North Dakota.
In the past, Jacobson said, the law looked at the victims of human trafficking as criminals. North Dakota passed a safe harbor law in the last legislative session in 2015 that protected juveniles from prosecution. That makes it easier for law enforcement and prosecutors to convince victims to leave and testify against their pimps. Even with law, she said, this isn’t always an easy prospect because of the conditioning victims suffer.

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