Human Trafficking

News: Dec 14 - 20

Dec 20, 2019

In this week’s South Dakota news, we'll learn about how Governor Kristi Noem wants lawmakers to approve more than three and a half million dollars for intensive meth treatment and enforcement. Her request comes just weeks after the state debuted a campaign called "Meth. We're On It." Some say treatment is not enough.


In The Moment ... November 4, 2019 Show 693 Hour 1

Gregg Stern details his work with Crisis Rescue International at an upcoming presentation at South Dakota State University. Stern was a South Dakota farm kid and SDSU graduate who discovered an unexpected call to mission. Stern joins In The Moment to preview his talk and visit about rescuing children from trafficking.


In The Moment ... May 2, 2019 Show 567 Hour 2

In The Moment is discussing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women on Thursday's program.

Hear conversations with Sarah Kinvull and Becky Rasmussen from the last episode of South Dakota Focus with Stephanie Rissler.

Kinvull is a domestic violence survivor. Rasmussen is the director of Call to Freedom, a coalition of organizations throughout South Dakota that helps victims of human trafficking and domestic abuse.

FRONTLINE: Trafficked In America

Apr 24, 2018

In The Moment ... April 24, 2018 Show 322 Hour 1

"Trafficked in America," a joint FRONTLINE investigation with the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, premieres tonight on SDPB-TV at 9:00 p.m. Central.

Andres Cediel, a director, producer and writer of "Trafficked in America," details a trail of human trafficking that begins with teens in Guatemala and ends with them working outrageous hours in unacceptable conditions at Trillium Farms in rural Ohio.

In The Moment ... January 17, 2018 Show 257 Hour 2

A $50,000 initiative grant from Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation will give Call to Freedom the resources to invigorate a human trafficking taskforce.

We talk with Andy Patterson, president, Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, and Becky Rasmussen, executive director, Call to Freedom.

In The Moment ... July 26, 2017 Show 142 Hour 1

The San Antonio human smuggling tragedy that left 10 dead is a stark reminder that the business of selling people is prevalent.

Lori Walsh

In The Moment ... April 12, 2017 Show 070 Hour

From bulbs to pruning, Julie Hoffman answers your Spring gardening questions. Hint: don’t clean out your flower beds too soon! Julie is with East River Nursery in Huron.

On this episode of the In the Moment podcast, "Women are women wherever you go." Pastor Pat Hammond talks about human trafficking across the globe. Jim Reese offers a poem called "This Isn't Dress Rehearsal," and Guitar Master Bob Fehy chills out on the slide guitar.

The New Colossus

In The Moment ... February 21, 2017 Show 034 Hour 1

The New Colossus

In The Moment... February 2, 2017 - Show 022, Hour 1


Data gathered from the National Human Trafficking Hotline shows the number of reported human trafficking cases in South Dakota increased from 14 in 2015 to 19 in 2016.

Experts say these numbers reflect a growing transparency on the issue, but that more efforts are needed to educate the public on how to recognize and help victims of human trafficking.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A Sioux Falls doctor is accused of human trafficking after authorities rescued a teenage girl from his home. Officials say they arrested 36-year-old Jonathan Cohen Tuesday after the victim called 911 for help.

Authorities say a 16-year-old from Georgia was reported a runaway in August. Sioux Falls Police Lieutenant Mike Colwill says she met Jonathan Cohen on an internet dating website and traveled to meet him.

Human Trafficking is fast becoming a familiar topic in South Dakota. Captain Corey Brubakken (Pennington County Sheriff's Office) outlines what to look for and how to report suspected trafficking in your community. 

The South Dakota West River Human Trafficking Task Force invites the public to a screening of the Shared Hope International documentary "Chosen." It's the true story of girls whose lives were transformed after tumbling into the modern slave trade.

As President of the National Association of Attorneys General, Marty Jackley led a delegation of Attorneys General on a mission to Taiwan last week where they discussed criminal justice.  Jackley met with Taiwan President Ma-Ying-Jeou to discuss criminal justice, law enforcement and the economic partnership between the U.S. and Taiwan.  The delegation also met with the Hon.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Two people face felony human trafficking charges after Sioux Falls police met with two victims. Officials arrested one man and one woman accused of sex trafficking, and they took two more people into custody for drug charges.

The human trafficking investigation started Monday when officers found an ad online related to prostitution. They arranged a meeting with two women.

Four men were arrested during the Sturgis Rally for sex crimes.
The Internet Crimes Against Children unit conducted a sting operation at the rally for a third year.   The unit includes local, state and federal law enforcement officials.  It targets those who are willing to pay for sex with minors.
Officials arrested three men for attempted commercial sex trafficking and one for solicitation of a minor.   

SF Man Arrested For Human Trafficking

Jul 17, 2015
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A Sioux Falls man is in jail after authorities say he forced a woman into prostitution for multiple years in several cities. Officials say they responded to a call Tuesday that connected them with the victim.

Authorities in Sioux Falls say a 43-year-old woman is safe after two to three years of forced prostitution. Officer Sam Clemens says earlier this week the victim and her abuser argued.

"And that ended up with him punching her several times and then kicking her – kicking her specifically in the head numerous times," Clemens says.

Anti-human trafficking legislation is stalled in the United States Senate, and that frustrates South Dakota’s representation in Washington, DC. Democrats in the US Senate blocked debate again Wednesday over one provision in the bill.

Legislation in the United States Senate establishes a fund to help victims of sex trafficking. Money from fines on convicted traffickers would support it. The bill includes language that stops the dollars from being used on abortions except for rape, incest, or to protect the life of a woman.

Bill To Increase Penalty For Buying Sex Dies On House Floor

Mar 12, 2015

The State House of Representatives killed a measure that intended to crack down on sex traffickers and those who hire victims for sex.   
Lawmakers in the House and Senate could not agree on the language in the bill.  The measure aimed to increase the penalty for anyone who hires sex or services from someone who is a victim of sex trafficking.

Click play below to hear the rest of this story.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart is sharing a message of hope at A South Dakota conference. Smart is one of this week’s speakers talking about violent crime and human trafficking. Smart says everyone needs to pay attention to trafficking – not just potential victims.

Kealey Bultena SDPB

This week health care professionals are gathering in Sioux Falls at the Violent Crime and Human Trafficking Conference sponsored by Avera Health and the Department of Justice. Avera has new protocols for health care professionals if they suspect patients are victims of sex trafficking. Nurses, doctors and other health care workers can listen for red flags during assessments and move to more standard questions to identify abuse.

Congresswoman Kristi Noem says she’s asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to take action against a website that advertises the buying and selling of people.

Lawmakers support giving victims of sex trafficking the opportunity to sue their traffickers. Members of the House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed House Bill 1161 Friday.

Law enforcement used to see criminal transactions out in the open, but the relatively unregulated internet affords an online realm of shadowy deals and illegal trade. SDPB continues this week’s series examining sex trafficking in South Dakota with a look at how authorities identify and prosecute sex crimes.

Sioux Falls takes pride in being the state’s biggest city, but that banner can’t extinguish the downsides of more people in a small area. Sioux Falls Police Officer Sam Clemens says investigators in the street crimes unit focus on unsavory activities. 

A global organization that fights human trafficking says South Dakota's laws are the worst in the nation. The Polaris Project's 2013 ranking shows South Dakota as the only state labeled Tier 4. In the project's description, that means South Dakota has "not made minimal efforts to enact a basic legal framework to combat human trafficking and should actively work to improve" laws, especially those that protect victims. Johnson disputes the new report and says it focused on state laws but overlooked key efforts underway involving multiple government agencies.

The University of South Dakota, along with Argosy University of Chicago and the Civil Society out of St. Paul, Minnesota, will host "Human Trafficking in the Dakotas" tomorrow at the Sanford Education Center in Sioux Falls. "Human Trafficking in the Dakotas" is a first-of-its-kind in South Dakota conference for law enforcement officials, social service workers or health care providers who confront, respond to and battle human trafficking - a malevolent violation of human rights and crimes involving the abduction and transporting of women or young adults.