Attorney General Knudsen launches television PSA to combat human trafficking in Montana

Attorney General Knudsen launches television PSA to combat human trafficking in Montana

HELENA – Continuing his commitment to end human trafficking in Montana, Attorney General Austin Knudsen today launched a new statewide public service announcement to educate Montanans on the issue and how to report it when they suspect they see it.

Featuring Montana Department of Justice officials who are active in the fight against human trafficking, the 30-second spot provides information to Montanans on what to look for and where to report suspected human trafficking. It will run through August 10 on broadcast and cable television across Montana.

“One of my top priorities as attorney general is ending human trafficking in Montana,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “At the Montana Department of Justice, we’re increasing our investigations and committed to holding human traffickers accountable. Please, join us. Educate yourself on the signs of human trafficking and report suspected human trafficking to 1-833-406-STOP.”

Attorney General Knudsen is joined in the spot by Selene Koepke, Attorney General’s Office prosecutor, Bryan Lockerby, Division of Criminal Investigation administrator, and Steve Lavin, Montana Highway Patrol colonel.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery whereby traffickers, which are often organized criminal enterprises, profit at the expense of adults or children by compelling them to perform labor or engage in commercial sex. It is estimated that human trafficking generates $150 billion worldwide per year. Montana Department of Justice human trafficking investigators initiated 64 cases in fiscal year 2022, an increase of 300 percent from 16 in the previous fiscal year.

Watch the spot here.

Know the signs. Potential indicators of sex trafficking may include:

  • Young person that is very hesitant to engage in conversation. Eyes are always downcast, avoiding eye contact, especially with men. Poor physical state…tired, malnourished, or shows signs of physical abuse or torture.
  • Seems to have trouble responding to what their name is or what location (city or even state) they are in. (Victims’ names are often changed, as are their whereabouts. They typically do not stay in one location for long – at times for 24 hours or less).
  • Wearing clothes that do not fit the climate or the situation such as short shorts or skirts, tank tops, and no jacket in the middle of winter.
  • Lack of control over money, personal possessions like bags, ID’s, or documents. May also be carrying very few possessions in a plastic bag.
  • May be accompanied by a dominating person, or someone they seem fearful of. That controlling person may also be someone who does not seem to “fit,” such as a much older individual, an individual of a different race, or with behavior seemingly inappropriate with the suspected victim.
  • Young girl or boy hanging around outside a convenience store, truck stop, casino, or other location. May be approaching different vehicles or men they do not seem to know.

If you believe you witness human trafficking:

  • If the situation is an emergency, call 911.
  • Do not intervene if you see suspected trafficker(s). Remain at a safe distance or in your vehicle.
  • In non-emergency situations, call or text 1-833-406-STOP (1-833-406-7867) OR reach and advocate via live chat at
  • When possible, take images with your cellular device of the suspected trafficker(s), victim(s), and vehicle license plate(s).

During the 2023 legislative session, Attorney General Knudsen helped write and pass House Bill 112 which increases the penalties for human trafficking and will provides prosecutors with more tools to prosecute human traffickers. It expands the definition of human trafficking and will help increase the crackdown on sexual abuse of children and all victims. The Department of Justice also supported Senate Bill 522 which creates an emergency lodging grant program to assist in providing short-term lodging in the state to individuals and families that are victims of domestic violence or human trafficking.

Attorney General Knudsen has also increased human trafficking training for county attorneys, Montana Highway Patrol Troopers, and law enforcement cadets at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy. Last year, he helped launch the Sentinel Project, a private-public partnership between the Montana Department of Justice and non-governmental organizations to increase human trafficking training and public education in the state.


Skip to content