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May 10, 2017 10:02 PM

Who Are The Victims Of Child Porn?

With the arrest of former Sioux Falls Fire Chief Jim Sideras, child porn is in the spotlight.  That crime and human trafficking are often connected.

Becky Rasmussen has made it her life's mission to help victims of human trafficking.

"The youngest girl we have identified as being trafficked is four years old," Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen is the Executive Director of Call to Freedom in Sioux Falls.

"It is happening here in South Dakota and in communities that you'd never guess," Rasmussen said.

In fact, South Dakota has gotten national attention for how serious a problem it is. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there have been almost 300 victims in the state since 2007. Rasmussen says many people think child porn victims are prostitutes, but they're often human trafficking victims.

"Mothers and fathers sell their own children for personal gain," Rasmussen said.

While some victims of child porn are trafficked by their parents, others are runaways who get caught up in organized crime, sometimes through social media.

"They'll find how they can control them. That may be an addiction. That may be money or threatening their family. They may provide them with a place to live," Rasmussen said.

No matter who is behind the crime, Rasmussen says as long as more people are paying for child porn, the number of victims will keep growing.

"You have to have a demand, which means you have to have someone who buys trafficking victims or a demand for it in order for the traffickers to fill that," Rasmussen said.

A demand that is hurting some of the most vulnerable people in the state.

If you would like to help in the fight against human trafficking, Call to Freedom is looking for sponsors who will help victims get back on their feet.  This ranges from financial support to lining up employment.  You can contact Call To Freedom at (605) 221-4857.


© 2017 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.

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