Sioux Falls-based nonprofit raises human trafficking awareness

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Thursday is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day and a Sioux Falls non-profit is working to spread the word about this issue.
'Call to Freedom' held an event at Sioux Falls First inviting several other anti-trafficking organizations.

People are wearing blue to recognize National Human Trafficking Day and while many may not think human trafficking is an issue in South Dakota, leaders for anti-human trafficking organizations say raising awareness about this issue is important because it's a lot more common than some might think.

Dozens of people packed into Sioux Falls First to learn more about human trafficking.

“It's a privilege to host this special night of prayer and education for the evil of human trafficking,” Lead pastor Quentin Beard said.

In the educational part of the event, “Call to Freedom’ released several sobering statistics like how South Dakota sees the second highest human trafficking related calls per capita in the United States.

Call to Freedom has been open for two years. In that time the organization has served 100 women, children and teens.

“I am here to tell the community that it is happening is happening in Sioux Falls. It is happening in South Dakota,” Call to Free Executive Director Becky Rasmussen said.

The I-29 and I-90 corridor brings transit trafficking through the Sioux Falls area when big events take place in the region.

“We have the Super Bowl in Minneapolis this year and since we have 29 and I-90 that are going through community. We are going to have people traveling through our communities that are bringing women are boys to meet those demands,” Rassmusen said.

And that's why these anti-trafficking organizations are banning together.

“We have several different groups on the front lines across the state of South Dakota,” Rasmussen said.

Paying for the victims, praying for law enforcement, and praying that if people learn about this issue they can join the fight to stop it.

“I believe people suffer silently and really don't reach out for help like they need to. So, I think other people have to be aware of what's going on so they can reach out to them,” Beard said.