Human Trafficking: A Survivor's Perspective

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MINOT, N.D. - Human Trafficking is a money making machine that reportedly generates a profit of $32 billion every year.

The U.S. State Department says 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, with 80 percent being female and half of those are children.

"The oil boom certainly drew people here drew men with money but there are still men with money in every community. There are still women and children being abused," said Georgia Ambrahamson, Bottineau County human trafficking advocate.

"I think a lot of people just think that it is Minot, Williston, Fargo, the bigger areas and I was informed that there is a case in Bottineau county right now," said Ambrahamson.

Though the case could not be confirmed by law enforcement and border patrol, they did say there more than ten incidents of sexual abuse or misconduct in the community within the last year alone.

One survivor says she was trafficked when she was 19.

"I was originally trafficking out of Duluth, Minnesota. So again, the upper Midwest, people think it doesn't happen. I was trafficked there and then, yes, sent around to many different places," said Danielle John, human trafficking survivor leader.

After being arrested with her trafficker, John got out of serving any time by testifying against him.

Backpage.com is a well-known site pimps and johns use to traffic their victims. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., has been opposed to it and just this week spoke out about it again.

"Your company exploits children, children all across this country. Not just in places like New York City or at a Super bowl. Places like Watford City, places like Minot where we rescued a 12-year-old and 14 year old when there mothers discovered them on backpages," said Heitkamp.

After that Subcommittee hearing, Backpage.com announced the shutdown of its "adult services" section.

Yet, less than an hour after being shut down, the women seeking men section had a number of ads selling sex.

"We can't just shut things down we've go to go way way back in combating this, how can we stop this versus shutting these things down because the demand is still there and if the demand is still there then someone's gonna supply the product and that product happens to be the victims and the clients we serve," said John.

"So you say if you and I to be together, I have to provide some money right so how much do you want?", voice of john.

"Ninety percent of these women that are posted on backpage or other internet sites that provide sexual services for money; we know that these girls are under a traffickers control. There's girls that I'm seeing on here that I've seen from three years ago," said Windie Lazenko, 4her founder.

Lazenko is also a survivor of trafficking, and she has been working in Williston for the past three years fighting human trafficking.