June 6, 2018

Fighting human trafficking in the state’s oil patch

Fighting human trafficking in the state’s oil patch

By Betsy Ryan
Farmer Staff Writer

In a round table discussion in Watford City last week, Senator Heitkamp met with representatives from the FBI, Homeland Security, social services, local law enforcement and Watford City’s anti-human trafficking task force to discuss efforts to combat human trafficking in western North Dakota.
Heitkamp’s goal for the meeting was to gather progress reports from each party and talk about the next step in fighting sex and labor trafficking in western North Dakota.
“The oil industry did not bring the problem of prostitution and sex trafficking to North Dakota,” Heitkamp said. “The perpetrators of sex trafficking brought the problem to North Dakota.”
The bipartisan bill SESTA (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act)  passed the Senate by an overwhelming vote of 97-2 in March of this year. In the days leading up to the President signing SESTA into law, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized and shut down the website known for its advertising of underage and trafficked sex workers - backpage.com.
SESTA makes it illegal for any website to assist, facilitate or support sex trafficking, or arranging the purchase of sex online. The goal is to take away any ease in selling their victims from traffickers.

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