Fox: Highway Patrol Budget Cuts Could Hamper Campaign Against Human Trafficking
As awareness of human trafficking increases, so do the number of victims who are being rescued in Montana. Human traffickers use force or fraud to coerce their victims into some type of labor or sex slavery.
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox says next to the drug trade, it’s the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world.
At first blush, Montana’s numbers don’t necessarily overwhelm. In 2015 one juvenile was rescued from human trafficking here. Last year, five juveniles were.
Attorney General Tim Fox:
"That might seem to be a small, inconsequential number, but when you talk about five children who have been trafficked, traumatized, their freedom taken away, scarred for life emotionally and physically – that’s a big deal that we can rescue those individuals and help them have a productive and happy life."
Twenty-two adult trafficking victims were rescued in Montana last year. That’s 10 more than the year before.
Fox says that in the past two years alone, Montana's quickly learned a lot about human trafficking:
"We’re getting more calls, more tips. I think people have educated themselves on the signs of human trafficking and what to look for, and are calling law enforcement more often. That’s a good thing."
Tim Fox argues any significant cuts to the Montana Highway Patrol's budget could hamstring the state’s increasingly effective campaign against human traffickers.
Governor Steve Bullock’s proposed state budget calls for millions of dollars in cuts from state agencies.