SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Human trafficking is something that takes place all around the world, even right here in South Dakota. According to Call to Freedom, every 30 seconds, someone becomes a victim of human trafficking.
Representatives from shelters across South Dakota met Tuesday for a summit to discuss housing needs for survivors of trafficking. Freedom Network USA helped put on the summit.
“Really the goal is to be able to address the housing needs for survivors of trafficking as a community and for South Dakota because there are so many services but also because they are spread out throughout the state, it’s really important to bring those partners together in order to really elevate what are some of the needs but what are some of the solutions they’re working towards and make sure that they are linking in collaboration,” training institute director, Freedom Network USA, Karen Romero said.
Call to Freedom estimates that just 3% of victims are ever identified, meaning 97% go unidentified. The average age of a trafficking victim is just 12 years old.
“There is not one organization that can combat human trafficking, it takes communities and collaboration to combat that, and so the first step today through the summit is to be able to have the discussion, what are we seeing, how are we addressing,” executive director for Call to Freedom, Becky Rasmussen said.
“At Children’s Inn our primary focus is domestic violence and sexual assault but we are seeing more and more trafficking victims come through our doors and they need a different type of help, they need different services, and I’m here today to really figure out what type of services we can provide to them,” program supervisor at Children’s Inn, Kobi Ringling said.