Rep. Noem Talks Sex Trafficking In SD
by Jeff Rusack, Reporter
January 23, 2014 4:44 PM
South Dakota has the worst laws in the country to combat sex trafficking, according to a national study by the Polaris Project. It's a statement that peaked the attention of Representative Kristi Noem.
Rep. Noem is currently helping introduce three separate pieces of legislation in Washington that would help survivors of sex trafficking and their families receive the help they need.
“We need more support on a national level as far as financial support to actually be able to create and to continue the support system and responses that each community is trying to create,” said Susan Omanson of Be Free Ministries.
Noem is introducing legislation in Washington on human trafficking, but she says law makers in Pierre need to pass more comprehensive laws to help the people who are victims of the illegal industry.
“We are at the bottom of states when it comes to our state laws really protecting the victims and the survivors that have been hit so hard by this industry,” said Rep. Noem.
For many it would come as a shock that sex trafficking is in the Mount Rushmore State but leaders of local advocacy groups are delighted that Kristi Noem is taking a stand against the crime.
“So, we need people like, Kristi Noem and others, to really be a voice that's open up the door for the rest of us to come along and follow behind,” said Omanson.
“I have three kids. And, I think when I talk to people across South Dakota they don't realize that this is so pervasive across the state, that we have such an issue on our reservations. The hunting season is one of our big problems that happen when sex trafficking really comes to light,” said Rep. Noem.
Groups like the Junior League are spreading awareness on billboards in Sioux Falls but they know it's going to take a lot more than advertising to stop sex trafficking.
“To have her advocating more legislation is key,” added Omanson.
According to the Polaris Project, South Dakota only has two of the ten laws that are critical for a basic framework to fight the sex trafficking industry.