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Fort Peck Tribes Host Trafficking Conference

Organizers are hosting a conference that aims to raise awareness about the epidemics of human trafficking and missing and murdered indigenous people that are plaguing our communities.

The Fort Peck Tribal Court hosted the conference on Wednesday, July 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Fort Peck Community College Greet the Dawn Auditorium in Poplar.

Wednesday’s sessions followed a program on Tuesday that was reserved for law enforcement only.

Human trafficking, often referred to as modern-day slavery, is a widespread problem across the nation, in tribal communities, in Montana’s urban centers and in the state’s rural areas. In our own communities, youth and adults are being taken across state lines and forced to engage in commercial sexual activity, event organizers said. Local teens are becoming involved in “survival trafficking,” exchanging sex for drugs or food and money. Native children who run away from home are at higher risk of being endangered. The conference will shed light on the trafficking problem and highlight efforts to fight traffickers. The community will also learn how to protect our children from trafficking and about resources available to victims.

The conference is being hosted by the Fort Peck Tribal Court, in partnership with the Fort Peck Community College, Fort Peck Tribal Security and the Yellowstone County Area Human Trafficking Task Force.

Grant funding for the conference was provided by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women.

In addition to presentations from those leaders, the conference will offer trainings from experts at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Montana Department of Justice, Montana Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force, Billings Police Department, Frontier Psychiatry, Tumbleweed and End Exploitation Montana.

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