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Sex Trafficking Roundtable Opens Door to Dark Subject

Kristi Noem
(Dan Peters/KSOO)

With nine people around the table, eight of them considered on the frontline of the horrors of human trafficking, the job was to talk openly.  Solutions will be long in coming, but action now to curtail this exploitation needs to be taken.

South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem is putting sex trafficking high on her legislative agenda.  She says the main takeaway from the Legislative Roundtable on Sex Trafficking in Sioux Falls Thursday is that stronger laws are needed.

“We are at the bottom of states when it comes to our state laws protecting the victims that have been hit so hard with this industry.  We also have some federal legislation that we have to pursue that will protect them more.  The (victims) need housing and more support.  We all need to really work together to make sure that here in South Dakota when this industry comes in and devastates the lives of children and families, that we’re all working together to do whatever we can to stop it.”

Breaking through the discussion at one point was the usage of the word survivor of human trafficking instead of victim.  Noem felt the resonation of that description.  “So many times we refer to people who have been exposed to sex trafficking industry as victims.  One of the women here said, ‘I like to think of them as survivors.’  It’s so true.  What they have been through does make them a survivor.”

Law enforcement, advocacy groups and people who provide shelter were all involved in the discussion.

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