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Activist group says Bozeman prostitution arrests help combat human trafficking

Posted at 9:14 PM, Aug 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-31 23:14:41-04

BOZEMAN – An anti-human trafficking group at Montana State University said Friday the recent arrests of seven men in Gallatin County on suspicion of prostitution solicitation will help curb the sex-trafficking industry.

“Approaching the demand side of the equation is aimed at reducing the number of people who aim to buy sex,” said Emma Folkerts with HEART Initiative, an MSU group aimed at awareness and reduction of human trafficking.

One of those seven men, John Sanders, pleaded guilty to prostitution in court Friday morning.

Folkerts says the HEART Initiative is also involved with the Gallatin County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, citing three committees within the task force as prevention, protection, and prosecution.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin says the operation that led to the recent arrests in Bozeman took the collaboration of Bozeman Police Department and Homeland Security and two to three months of planning.

The men were arrested after responding to online prostitution ads and meeting up at a hotel for the sex.

“It’s something we didn’t use to have to worry about until internet, social media and now it’s happening,” said Sheriff Gootkin.

The HEART Initiative says their website contains information joining their efforts or finding out more about human trafficking.

Story by Mallory Peebles, MTN News