Awareness – that’s one of the biggest weapons to fight human trafficking.

Dozens of people under one roof showing their faith in the hopes of ending sex trafficking – it’s not just music and prayer, as organizations from across the state talk about the problem. It was all a part of the Call to Freedom Praise and Worship Event. 

“Tonight is to bring the community together because there’s not one organization that can actually combat it. It’s a community coming together using their gifts and talents,” Call to Freedom Executive Director Becky Rasmussen said. 

One of the organizations is Native Hope, based out of Chamberlain. They work on empowering a young generation of Native Americans and help prevent sex trafficking. Director Julie Muldoon says 40 percent of victims are Native American Women and Children. She hopes numbers like that will help bring the issue more into the public eye. 

“Anytime you can get some of these stats out, that are kind of hard to hear or people didn’t even really know about, it’s a $32 billion industry. Taking that first step of awareness and education and then we can let them know about the problem so we can help get together and try and fix it,” Muldoon said. 

Call to Freedom
 partnered with the Underground House of Prayer and Church at the Gate for Wednesday night’s event. Pastor Jerry Mootz says every Friday morning for the past couple of years, they’ve been praying about ending sex trafficking, and he says more people are getting involved. 

“We’ve done some prayer initiatives not only here in the city but also in Pierre itself and so there’s a growing awareness to this issue,” Mootz said. 

It’s something many don’t talk about, but with events like this, the voice against sex trafficking will only be getting louder.

“We’re able to report that to law enforcement. We’re able to direct them to the services that sex trafficking victims need to get the help that they need and so all of us working together really help to create a solution to the problem,” Rassmussen said. 

This was a part of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.