The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an exciting time in South Dakota. We are privileged to host thousands of visitors from across the country and from all over the world. This is an exciting and profitable time for those of us who call South Dakota home. However, it is a dangerous time as well. Family Heritage Alliance would urge everyone to be hypervigilant, taking extra care to watch for bikers who are often hard to see.
While you are at it, keep your eyes peeled for another serious threat. Whereas the Sturgis Rally brings mostly good, fun-loving folks to our state, it also presents a market for those sexually exploiting women and children for profit. It is to raise awareness of this fact that we asked our governor to proclaim July as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Governor Daugaard obliged, and for that we are extremely thankful. Family Heritage Alliance is privileged to be part of the Black Hills Human Trafficking Task Force, consisting of 25 different agencies and ministries.
As the rally draws near, keep your eyes peeled and be on the alert. As we have said for several years now, “If you see something, say something”.
We would like to express our appreciation to Governor Daugaard for making this proclamation. Below, we have included the verbiage.
Governor Dennis Daugaard’s
Proclamation observing July, 2016, as
Human Trafficking Awareness Month
WHEREAS, Human Trafficking is modern day slavery that is a violation of a person’s rights and dignity through the trade of human beings in sex trafficking, labor trafficking, and other forms of slavery and trafficking; and
WHEREAS, Human Trafficking became a federal crime when the United States Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, which in 2013 has been renewed as an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act; and
WHEREAS, Human Trafficking occurs when an adult, child, or infant is forcibly recruited, harbored, or transported for the purpose of forced exploitation, commercialized sexual exploitation, slavery, illicit adoption, removal of organs, and forced labor or services; and
WHEREAS, the Human Trafficking victim is treated in this manner for personal or monetary gain through involuntary servitude, fraud, coercion, debt bondage, physical and mental abuse, kidnapping, or death; and
WHEREAS, while the exact scope of Human Trafficking remains unknown, it is estimated that as many as 27 million people are affected worldwide, including an estimated two million children. The targets are both United States citizens and foreign nationals, who are chosen for their vulnerability in society; and
WHEREAS, the existence of Interstate 90, Interstate 29 and internet advertising makes the State of South Dakota vulnerable to Human Trafficking. Law enforcement has increased efforts to investigate, prosecute, and help curb Human Trafficking in South Dakota; and
WHEREAS, Legislation has been passed in South Dakota to raise awareness, education, prevention and protection for all residents, thereby declaring that the State of South Dakota does not support this crime in any form and will continue the fight to end Human Trafficking; and
NOW THEREFORE, I, Dennis Daugaard, Governor of the State of South Dakota, do hereby observe the month of July, 2016 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in South Dakota. I do hereby urge all South Dakotans to increase their education on Human Trafficking, and protect one another by recognizing potential trafficking activity and victims and to report all suspicious activity to law enforcement.