Human Sex Trafficking in North Dakota
The U.S. Bureau of Justice reports between 2008-2010, there were more than 2500 reported incidents of human sex trafficking. And, that number is growing.
"A lot of people don`t realize it`s happening, I think, unless the police really track down this and really have an arrest,” said Parents Arise Director Al Erickson. “I think a lot of this goes unreported."
While human sex trafficking is not a new problem in North Dakota, as Parents Arise Director Al Erickson explains, it is becoming a bigger problem with more people moving to the state for the oil boom.
"It can happen in many different ways. Anybody can be manipulated. They`re always going to say the right things on the surface. They`re going to say the right things those two or three weeks. They`re going to get them to trust you and that`s really the tricky part,” said Erickson.
After talking to police in Williston, Erickson says they`re using 5 or 6 different phones, each with different names. And, that`s not the only tool they`re using, they`re also turning to the Internet.
"It`s hard to track them, but there are probably a lot of pimping operations that are behind that," said Erickson.
But, Erickson is making it his mission to put an end to human sex trafficking throughout North Dakota.
"We want to equip parents to think about how they`re going to raise their kids to be more street smart and more aware of some of the dangers that are out there, so they don`t get trapped in stuff that they never knew was going to happen."
That`s why Erickson wrote, "Parents Arise! Grandparents Arise!” giving parents and children the tools they need to handle tough situations with nonviolence approach, before it`s too late.
"It`s going to be a danger and it`s going to affect their lives for a long time in many cases," said Erickson.
By educating our children at a young age and providing them with a play book, Erickson believes we can begin to decrease human trafficking in North Dakota one case at a time.
There is a difference between human sex trafficking and prostitution. It`s human sex trafficking when it goes against minor`s will. But, it`s prostitution when an adult chooses to utilize it as a job.