credit: JENNY MICHAEL | Bismarck Tribune Feb 2, 2014
“Human trafficking refers to the sale or trade of humans — basically, slavery. Or as Patrick Atkinson, founder of the God’s Child Project and the Institute for Trafficked, Exploited and Missing Persons, puts it, ‘the exploitation of the weak by the powerful.’
Defining the problem is difficult, because it can take so many forms. Parents sell their children for drugs or money. Young girls are lured into the sex trade by offers of money, possessions or love. Women are kidnapped and forced into prostitution. Immigrants are pushed into low- or no-pay jobs at the threat of having their immigration statuses revealed to authorities.
Neither sex trafficking or labor trafficking are exactly new in North Dakota. Both have occurred throughout history. The trafficking that people are worried about taking root in North Dakota now is of the kind where people — mostly young girls and women — are coerced or forced into prostitution…”
…[T]rafficking often follows the boom of an economic industry, which pulls people, often young men, into a new place and provides an excess of money and time and a dearth of available female partners. Traffickers also look for places with a ready supply of vulnerable girls. In those ways, western North Dakota fits the bill. – ITEMP Founder and Director, Patrick Atkinson