Human Trafficking: Where there's a will, how the community can help

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MINOT, N.D. - Combating human trafficking is an all hands on deck effort that the community plays a huge role in. Victims have been saved by tips, doctor visits and awareness campaigns throughout the country.

In the last chapter of our series, we discuss how you to can help combat trafficking in your community.

Even though human trafficking seemed to expand as the oil industry was booming, more resources are now in place to help combat it.

"There's always a chance that it might grow again as our population grows, along with as our oil prices do go back up and oil comes back, but now there are a lot of resources," says Amy Nickoloff, Williston Police Department Lt. Detective.

One of those resources is community awareness and involvement, which is the cornerstone of the Department of Homeland Security's Blue Campaign.

"It's gone out to educate not only law enforcement but also communities about the hidden aspects of human trafficking," says Karsten Anderson, HSI Special Agent.

Through events and presentations, police and government agencies use the Blue Campaign to educate and inform the public about the dangers of human trafficking and issues in communities that may result in a human trafficking cases.

"It's based on sexual abuse identities, and so I think if we could recognize what sexual abuse looks like we might be able to even prevent a lot of people from even being victimized in trafficking," says Georgia Abrahamson, Bottineau County Human Trafficking Advocate.

"We kind have like a checklist that we go through when we're dealing with, especially our at risk youth, on do they fall under these categories? And if they do then we want to offer them extra services, kind of that preventive services, before it happens. So each one of those things I had on that checklist," says Danielle John, Youth Works Human Trafficking Survivor Leader.

There's also a relatively new app that allows you to join the fight against trafficking.

It is called TraffickCam. All you have to do is snap pictures of your hotel room and the images are added into a national database that authorities can use to cross-reference images online.

While the fight can be done with an app in a hotel room, it also can happen in a doctor's office.

"The trend that we see here in the hospital is not necessarily an increase from what we have in the past, I think because of those, reason is that these women aren't always coming to us as kind of a routine gynecological visit," says Dr. David Amsbury, Trinity Health OBGYN.

Though many victims may go into a free clinic, doctors and nurse across the country are looking for signs of abuse.

"Human trafficking has always been going on, but now it is getting much more notoriety because of some highly publicized cases of girls that are actually being rescued from it, and I think there's more awareness about what's happening now," says Amsbury.

The awareness about the issue is here, the fight is on and a changed mindset can help keep you and your family safe.

"Are we raising good respectful men? Are we raising women that know that they have worth and know that they too carry strength, and they're not the weak ones, because that's what society kind of put - men are strong, women are weak. Ya know, we need to change those stereotypes," says John.

For a community in danger, which rings true around the globe, being aware and active is all it takes to possibly save someone's life.

All agencies ask that if you see something, say something. You can contact your local law enforcement or reach out to Department of Homeland Security's Blue Campaign, by texting INFO or HELP to BeFree or 233733.