sex trafficking

Katie Hunhoff - South Dakota Magazine

The South Dakota House of Representatives is passing legislation to increase penalties for those who pay money for sex.

HB 1110 adds that a person convicted of one or more violations within a decade is a Class 6 felony.

The first offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor, a lesser offense.

Representative Thomas Holmes is sponsoring the bill. He says increasing the penalty for a second offense is the best chance for convicting those who pay money for sex.

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.

Lori Walsh

In The Moment ... April 18,2017 Show 075 Hour 1

The University of South Dakota continues its three week event, "Human Cargo: Trafficking in the 21st Century," sponsored by the Criminal Justice and International Studies programs. Tonight at 6 p.m. the program looks at challenges close to home with a conversation about sex trafficking in South Dakota. Kevin Koliner is Assistant US Attorney for South Dakota. 

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 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.

A week long investigation during the Sturgis Rally has led to several arrests for sex crimes.

Eight men are facing felony charges for attempting to solicit a minor over the internet. Local and state investigators worked together during the seven day investigation.

 Attorney General Marty Jackley says the arrests send a message that South Dakota is not the place for predators seeking to solicit minors.

Attorney General Marty Jackley has returned from the winter meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General. He joins Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to discuss updates in state legislation, including HB1008 and the vehicular homicide statute. AG Jackley also highlights the significance of US Attorney General Loretta Lynch's address to the state Attorneys General.

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.

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.   

Sex Trafficking During The Rally

Aug 7, 2015

Dakota Midday continued its week-long look into the 75th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Thursday as SDPB's Charles Michael Ray visited with Windie Lazenko about sex trafficking during the event.  Lazenko was a victim of sex trafficking at the age of 13.  She discussed her experiences and the history of sex trafficking during the annual August event.

You can find out more about the organization 4 Her here.

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.

Six men face felony charges for soliciting sex with children. A sting operation based in Sioux Falls targeted potential predators.

The state’s division of criminal investigation worked with city and county law enforcement on Thursday Friday and Saturday on a sex trafficking investigation. They posted ads online selling sex with children, and six men showed up for a meeting. They range in age from 25 to 35.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says two of the men charged are from Sioux Falls, three live in Iowa, and one is from Guatemala.

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.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

After more than five years as South Dakota’s United States Attorney, Brendan Johnson is stepping down. Wednesday Johnson held a news conference to announce that March 11th is his final day in the office.

Brendan Johnson says he set goals when he became South Dakota’s U-S Attorney five and a half years ago. He says he’s proud of accomplishments made under his leadership. Johnson says tribal communities are safer, violence against women and children has decreased, and South Dakotans are cracking down on sex trafficking.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The first person to reveal a famous football coach molested him says the justice system should better help victims of sex abuse. Aaron Fischer was a high school student when he told authorities Jerry Sandusky sexually abused him. Fischer is in Sioux Falls for the Violent Crime and Sex Trafficking conference to share his story with advocates and health workers, and he admits he’s not done healing from the abuse.

Dawn Hennessy says she knew something was wrong when her respectful teenager became unrecognizable.

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.

Five men face felony charges for trying to have sex with children following the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The number is down from the nine arrested during last year’s rally in the Black Hills.

The men arrested for sex crimes at Sturgis this year are from all over: Nebraska, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and California. One even lives in Canada.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says officers with the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit set up fake ads online offering sex with kids in exchange for money.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Law enforcement arrested two men last week for trying to set up sex with minors.

James Murphy, 22, of Sioux Falls and Elijah Wilson, 24, of Sioux Falls each face charges stemming from an undercover operation. The two men are the latest round of arrests in human trafficking and crimes against children.

Local, state and federal officials arrested two men who responded to online ads for sex with a minor and showed up to follow through on the deals. Each faces a felony count of solicitation of a minor. That carries a maximum of a decade in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A Sioux Falls man convicted of sex trafficking women and children will spend the rest of his life in prison. Mohammed Alaboudi is one of several criminals spending the rest of their lives behind bars for brokering deals in the sex trade. The latest ruling sheds new light on the crimes happening in South Dakota.

The muddy green house in the middle of Sioux Falls looks ordinary as it fades into the line of two-stories near Downtown. But police discovered heinous crimes in the upstairs apartment.

Life Sentence For Alaboudi

Mar 18, 2014

Federal prosecutors won a life sentence for an Iraqi refugee Monday.  Mohammed Alaboudi sold several women and girls for sex at his Sioux Falls Apartment.  He was convicted by a federal jury last December on several sex trafficking counts.  U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson discusses how Alaboudi lured multiple girls and young women to his home and how authorities acted on the case.

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.

A bill allowing victims of human trafficking to sue their traffickers is one step closer to becoming law. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee passed House Bill 1161 Thursday. Representative Jenna Haggar is a prime sponsor of the bill. She says it offers the legal possibility of seeking civil damages in an attempt to regain some of what was taken.

Bill Targets Sex Traffickers

Feb 6, 2014

One piece of legislation intended to combat sex trafficking in South Dakota cleared its first legislative hurdle in Pierre.  Senate Bill 25 allows law enforcement to confiscate money and property used in sex trafficking and child pornography cases.    Attorney General Marty Jackley is backing the legislation.   He says it's similar to the system used in drug enforcement.

Lawmakers are discussing ways to strengthen the sex trafficking laws in the state. Congresswoman Kristi Noem spoke to both house and senate legislators this week, urging something to be done at the state level to help with this issue. Republican Representative Justin Cronin says he is trying to understand why he was not informed of the severity of Sex Trafficking in the state, until Noem spoke on the issue.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Local organizations working against sex trafficking are establishing the state’s biggest barriers to fighting the crime. Multiple victim advocates met at a round table discussion in Sioux Falls Thursday hosted by Congresswoman Kristi Noem.

Noem Discusses Farm Bill And More

Jan 23, 2014

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem joined Dakota Midday to discuss the farm bill, budgetary issues and her legislative agenda for 2014.  Noem is also hosting a sex trafficking roundtable discussion in Sioux Falls today.  She said there a still a lot of people in South Dakota who aren't aware that sex trafficking is a problem in the state.