From the Montana Department of Justice:

In Bozeman today, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen welcomed over 100 law enforcement officials, criminal prosecutors, advocacy groups, public health officials, and private industry leaders to the 4th Anti-Human Trafficking Symposium.

The main topics discussed at the event were law enforcement and prosecution, victim services and long-term care, and emerging threats. Attendees of the symposium also took part in a case study exercise.

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Montana AG Austin Knudsen said this about human trafficking:

Human trafficking is modern day slavery, and I remain committed to doing everything I can to end it in Montana. I’m proud of what we’ve done at the Montana Department of Justice to fight human trafficking over the last three years, but we won’t solve this problem alone. The groups involved in today’s discussions and private citizens also play an important role in our mission to help survivors and hold perpetrators accountable.”

Since 2021, reported human trafficking cases have more than doubled. In 2023, Department of Justice agents tracked 147 human trafficking cases in Montana, a 39% increase over 2022.

Another part of the process is House Bill 112, passed in 2023, which was developed from discussions at past symposiums. The new law increases penalties for sex traffickers and patrons of sex trafficking. It also gives prosecutors more tools for the prosecution of sex traffickers, expanding the definition of human trafficking.

If you think someone may be a victim of sex trafficking, look for these signs (From

  • Young person that is very hesitant to engage in conversation. Eyes are always downcast, avoiding eye contact, especially with men. Poor physical state…tired, malnourished, or shows signs of physical abuse or torture.
  • Seems to have trouble responding to what their name is or what location (city or even state) they are in. (Victims’ names are often changed, as are their whereabouts. They typically do not stay in one location for long – at times for 24 hours or less).
  • Wearing clothes that do not fit the climate or the situation such as short shorts or skirts, tank tops, and no jacket in the middle of winter.
  • Lack of control over money, and personal possessions like bags, IDs, or documents. May also be carrying very few possessions in a plastic bag.
  • May be accompanied by a dominating person, or someone they seem fearful of. That controlling person may also be someone who does not seem to “fit,” such as a much older individual, an individual of a different race, or behavior seemingly inappropriate with the suspected victim.
  • Young girl or boy hanging around outside a convenience store, truck stop, casino, or other location. May be approaching different vehicles or men they do not seem to know.

If you believe you are witnessing human trafficking:

  • If the situation is an emergency, call 911.
  • Do not intervene if you see suspected trafficker(s). Remain at a safe distance or in your vehicle.
  • In non-emergency situations, call or text 1-833-406-STOP (7867) OR reach and advocate via live chat at
  • When possible, take images with your cellular device of the suspected trafficker(s), victim(s), and vehicle license plate(s).

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