Q2 On Special Assignment Preview: The Truth About Trafficking - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Q2 On Special Assignment Preview: The Truth About Trafficking

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The sex-for-money business is one of the oldest crimes in the books. It wasn’t long ago that women walked the streets of downtown Billings soliciting sex, prompting a public outcry that eventually moved the sex business indoors.

Fast forward to 2017 and gone are the days of women walking on the streets. Instead, their services are being sold over the internet, making it easier to fly under the radar and go undetected by law enforcement.

In recent years, there has been a push to re-categorize the women involved, not as prostitutes but as victims.

The more we learn about the sex trade, the more has come to light about the lives these young girls and women are forced to lead.

Since 2015, almost 70 victims of human trafficking have come forward in Billings alone, many who were trafficked while attending our area high schools.

The FBI identifies it as "survival sex," girls as young as 12 being sold for sex as a way to pay some sort of debt to a pimp.

Maybe more frightening, 36 percent of victims are trafficked by a direct family member, often for a similar reason.

Agents with the FBI say Billings is the most active city in the state when it comes to the human sex trade. 

Whether it is young girls in our high schools, women coming in from out of state to make money from the men near the once booming Bakken, or the abundance of area massage parlors, Billings is not immune to the growing problem.

Law enforcement and victim advocates agree the only way to fight the problem is with education.

Watch the two-part series - Q2 On Special Assignment: The Truth About Trafficking - on May 21 and 22 at 10 p.m.

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