NewsLocal News


Rise Up For Children brings awareness of human trafficking

Rise Up For Children.jpg
Posted at 10:32 PM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-31 00:46:10-04

Human trafficking is happening every day in every community around the world, often by those closest to the victim.

Victims and advocates joined together in the fight with Rise Up For Children on the Yellowstone County courthouse lawn.

About 50 people attended the event that included a walk around the block, raised awareness and gave information to help children.

Rise Up For Children 2.jpg

Nearly 41 percent of child trafficking experiences are facilitated by family members or care givers.

"Looked like he worked with my dad," said Stephanie Anderson about her experience. "He took my hand and he walked me down the hall. Within two minutes, my life changed forever."

Stephanie Anderson.jpg
KTVQ photo

Anderson survived human trafficking.

The idea of Rise Up For Children is to speak for the children who can not talk for themselves.

Anderson says it's important for everyone to look out for possible abusers.

"One of the gentlemen that stands out is a truck driver who had just taken the truckers against trafficking training and he happened to be at a truck stop," Anderson said about a man who helped a child who was trafficked. "And if we can be that aware, in the moments, or be that hearing voice for that child that says this is happening, we're going to be able to make a big difference."

Erin Walker.jpg
KTVQ photo

"There is a demand for commercial sex here in Billings," said Erin Walker of End Exploitation Montana and Montana Operation Underground Railroad volunteer team co-leader. "There's a demand in every community. And it's so prevalent that every community needs to be aware of how to notice human trafficking, the signs of human trafficking, how to report it, how to prevent it. We need to talk to parents and children about exploitation, what is dangerous online, and how there are so many predators ready and waiting to exploit children who are online. So there's a lot of education and prevention that we can do about it as well. But we need to care."

Operation Underground Railroad puts on the Rise Up For Children walk, which is now in its second year.