Montana DOJ Partners with State Groups to Raise Human Trafficking Awareness
HELENA – The Montana Department of Justice is working with several partners to continue to raise awareness of human trafficking in the state, starting with an event this Sunday in Missoula.
The First Annual Run for Freedom, organized by the Montana Anti-Human Trafficking Project, is being held to raise funding to support the Montana Anti-Trafficking Project. The Project is a statewide multi-media public education campaign to raise awareness of and prevent human trafficking in Montana. The 5K Run/Walk will start at Silver Park and follow the trails of Silver Park, McCormick Park, and the Milwaukee Trail. Attorney General Tim Fox is scheduled to kick off the event at 10:00 a.m.
“Sunday will be an exciting day of firsts for Montana’s human trafficking awareness efforts,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “Not only will the first Run for Freedom attendees have a chance to support the work of the Montana Anti-Trafficking Project, they’ll see our first-ever human trafficking awareness semi truck signage as well. I want to thank Representative Kimberly Dudik for spearheading the Run for Freedom, as well as Watkins & Shepard Trucking, Town Pump, and the Whitefish Soroptimists for their contributions to make Montana’s traveling public more aware of this form of modern day slavery.”
Ray Kuntz, CEO of Watkins & Shepard Trucking said, “Our trucks rack up thousands of miles annually on Montana’s roadways, and our truckers are the ears and eyes of the highways. We’re more than happy to donate space on one of our trailers in the hopes that motorists will call or text with a tip when they suspect a minor is being trafficked. If we can help save the life of even just one child, our company’s involvement would be very well worth it.”
Mike Kenneally, President of Town Pump Corporation, echoed those sentiments by saying, “Town Pump wanted to build upon the partnership we formed with the Montana DOJ earlier this year when we distributed its human trafficking awareness poster to all of our retail locations statewide. The truck wrap offered us another chance to demonstrate our commitment to helping make sure Montana’s children grow up safe.”
“We appreciate what the Montana Department of Justice has done, both legislatively and through its outreach efforts, to end the cycle of violence for young women who are lured or kidnapped into the living nightmare of human trafficking,” said Diane Yarus, who chairs the Human Trafficking Committee of the Whitefish Soroptimists. “Stopping this crime is a key initiative for Soroptimist members, and we’re proud to support the Run for Freedom and the awareness truck wrap.”
Run registration is available online at www.montanaantitraffickingproject.com and https://runsignup.com/Race/MT/Missoula/RunforFreedom5KRunWalk
or onsite the morning of the race. In order to guarantee a Run mug and hat, race registration must be completed by December 5. For more information about the race, contact the race director at [email protected] and visit www.montanaantitraffickingproject.com to learn more about the organization the Run supports.
The Montana Department of Justice will introduce a bill in the upcoming Legislative Session to revise Montana’s human trafficking laws to be more in line with the Uniform Human Trafficking Law. The 2013 Montana legislature strengthened the State’s laws against human trafficking by passing HB 478 (Laszloffy – Billings) and HB 488 (Gursky – Missoula).
Human trafficking has been identified as a $32 billion/ year industry and is the fastest growing element of the criminal industry in the world.