HELENA-Law enforcement officers and the public received training Wednesday on missing person cases, particularly those involving Native Americans, across the state.
The training was a joint effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Montana and the Montana Department of Justice.
Presenters included trainers from stated and federal agencies and organization, including the FBI, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Amber Alert.
Experts explained how different cases are handled, from the missing and abducted to adult runaways and the warning signs of sex trafficking.
Officials say billions of dollars are exchanged on the black market in sex trafficking and drugs.
Mark Pollock, Blackfeet Tribal Council and Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force member spoke with MTN about the significance of the training sessions held the last two days, stating, “To hear their stories, you can’t help but be affected by it.”
Pollock continued, “By hearing what happened to them and all of the things they have gone through…so, again, my hope and I think probably for Task Force itself is so that we don’t have to have those stories like that out there anymore.”
The public was also shown the different missing person databases and how they can use them.
Experts say that the most common age of a victim of missing in sex trafficking criminal activities is between the ages of 12-15.
Commonly, sex traffickers \will “groom” victims and get to know everything about that person to gain their trust before exploiting them.
Red flags family and friend can watch out for include: a sudden change in routine, expensive gifts or other items like new clothing or phones or tattoos.
If parents see any of these red flags, it is advised the contact law enforcement.