The Montana Department of Justice has a continued commitment to victims of human trafficking. In partnership with federal authorities, our agency plays a key role in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of crimes related to human trafficking in Montana. This form of modern day slavery does happen here in Big Sky Country. In the United States alone, nearly 300,000 children are trafficked for sex every year. Children without a safe, secure home are much more at risk for trafficking, but that doesn’t mean any child couldn’t be conscripted. The average age of girls forced into the sex trade is between the ages of 12-14. It’s estimated that fewer than 2% are ever rescued or leave “the life.”
Our best weapon against this global $32 billion per year criminal industry is public awareness. Help us bring the criminal element to justice. Learn the warning signs and resources available to help.
Can YOU recognize the warning signs of human trafficking?
Human trafficking victims are usually hidden in plain sight in locations you’d never think of.
- Living with employer
- Poor living conditions
- Multiple people in cramped space
- Inability to speak to individual alone
- Answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed
- Employer is holding identity documents
- Signs of physical abuse
- Submissive or fearful
- Unpaid or paid very little
- Under 18 and in prostitution
Labor trafficking is another form of modern-day slavery in which individuals perform labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. Labor trafficking includes situations of debt bondage, forced labor, and involuntary child labor.
Victims of trafficking may be found in any industry with a demand for cheap labor and a lack monitoring:
- Agriculture and farms
- Domestic work
- Hostess and strip clubs
- Restaurants and food service industry
- Peddling and begging rings
- Hospitality industry
Victims of labor trafficking include men, women, families, or children as young as five years old who harvest crops and raise animals in fields, packing plants, orchards, and nurseries. Victims of this form of trafficking include U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, undocumented immigrants, and foreign nationals with temporary work visas. Agricultural work is often isolated and transient, and income can be irregular. Workers often see peaks and lulls in employment due to changing harvest seasons, and may travel throughout the country to find work. Unscrupulous crew leaders exploit these conditions of vulnerability, adding debt, violence and threats to hold farmworkers in conditions of servitude.
Update from Attorney General Fox on DOJ’s Work to Fight Trafficking in Montana