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Attorney General Issues Statement In Observance Of MMIP Awareness Day

Attorney General Austin Knudsen issued the following statement in observance of Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day: “As a former prosecutor in Roosevelt County and now as attorney general, I have seen firsthand the impact the missing Indigenous persons and human trafficking crises are having on Montana’s tribal communities. At the Department of Justice, we remain committed to reducing the number of missing and murdered Indigenous persons in the state and I’m proud of the work we have done to find the missing, hold perpetrators accountable, and bring these issues to light. I will continue to do everything I can to prevent further tragedies.'

Last year, 693 Indigenous persons were reported missing in Montana. Thanks to the work of law enforcement agencies across the state, the clearance rate for last year is sitting at 99 percent as six of those Indigenous persons who went missing in 2023 are still missing today. Missing Indigenous persons accounted for 31 percent of all missing person cases in Montana last year, while according to the 2020 U.S. Census, Indigenous persons represent six percent of the state’s population.

To combat the issue, the Montana Department of Justice, under the direction of Attorney General Knudsen, launched an improved missing persons database to provide information to the public on missing persons, including Indigenous persons, reported by local law enforcement. Click here to view the database. The Department also manages the Montana Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force which was extended for 10 years during the 2023 Legislative Session and aims to reduce missing Indigenous persons in Montana.

Attorney General Knudsen has made it a priority of his administration to eliminate human trafficking. He helped change the law to increase the penalties for sex traffickers and patrons and implemented training for prosecutors and law enforcement officers to help them identify and prosecute human trafficking cases. He continues to bring together anti-human trafficking organizations, regional task forces, and others – including tribal representatives – to improve resource coordination, identify gaps in services, and explore policy ideas that can be implemented to fight trafficking.

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