STURGIS, S.D. (KELO) — Trafficking is a global issue that can happen anywhere, including at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. According to Bikers Against Trafficking, the number of people being sex trafficked in the United States is estimated to be one and a half million people. In the U.S., a child is taken into slavery every two and a half hours. This week, Bikers Against Trafficking set up a booth to make people aware and to say something if they see something.
Kevin Brimhall has been a Rally-goer for a few years now. He says it’s great to have the Bikers against trafficking organization in Sturgis this week.
“I’ve seen stuff on TV and talking to those other guys, I know this kind of stuff takes a lot of work out of people and I am proud to see they are out here making people see what’s going on and knowing about it,” Brimhall said.
Patrick “Doc” Nave is the President of the National Organization. This is the second year the group came to the Sturgis Rally… a location that has an all too personal connection for the organization.
“Our Co-Founder was actually trafficked in Sturgis and so it is dear to our hearts because the Co-Founder is also my wife,” Nave said.
The Bikers against trafficking booth here at the rally this week has two goals. To give people knowledge of what to look for and to take action.
“We go anywhere that motorcyclists go but we also just go to large events because we know so much trafficking happens there and our goal is to stop it basically. So if we see it we report it, we do whatever we have to do. Our mere presence lets people know that people are looking,” Nave said.
Some of the red flags the West River Human Trafficking Task Force says to look for to identify a victim include bruises in various stages of healing, avoiding eye contact and signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care.
“Really to make the public more aware of what is going on in the country, and in the state, and during Sturgis also,” Lisa Gennaro, West River Sex Trafficking Task Force, said.
And the more people that are knowledgeable could help a victim of trafficking.
“I know it goes on, people look the other way and there are things that we don’t want to know about but we need to know about and see about,” Brimhall said.
The Bikers Against Trafficking booth will be here for the whole rally on 8th and Lazelle. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. If you see something call 911.