MISSOULA – Statistics show that there are an estimated 2 million people exploited into human trafficking each year in the United States.
A nonprofit search and rescue organization in Missoula is fighting to make sure that everyone has the right to feel safe.
The Lifeguard Group focuses on human trafficking rescues and over the weekend they held an innovative self-defense training session.
“This is part of our prevention efforts. Helping young ladies, helping young women,” explained Lowell Hochhalter, director of The Lifeguard Group.
“And even helping men who find themselves in an exploited situation, or to help those that would have any kind of fear or would not feel secure.”
The group works alongside Smart Street Defender to facilitate the training sessions which draw on skills and movements most people learn as a child.
John Koeshall has 30 years of martial arts training but says that isn’t always effective under pressure.
He told MTN News that self-defense training works better when people tap into natural reflexes as opposed to when they try to learn a new skill.
“If it’s, somebody is trying to hurt me and I’m afraid, I’m caught unaware, I’m probably vulnerable in that moment,” Koeshall said.
“If I don’t have something that comes out automatically without thought, it’s not gonna be able to be manufactured on the spot under extreme stress,” he added.
Click here to learn more about The Lifeguard Group.
Reporting by Katie Miller for MTN News