Trafficking in South Dakota?

As our Black Hills businesses begin moving into their longer summer hours and we see the yearly uptick in tourist traffic begin, we are reminded that human trafficking did not take a break over our cold months. A common misunderstanding that we hear as we have opportunity to speak with others about human trafficking is that, “It doesn’t happen here, does it?” If this is you, please do not be dismayed! Nearly 80% of people in the United States would say the same thing. I do not think this answer is because of any fault of one person, but rather because those regularly exposed to this aspect of our society have historically lacked in the awareness and education of our communities.

The reality of it is that the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888) recorded 100 reports from South Dakota in the year 2021. When you pair that with the estimate that nationally, over 95% of victims are never identified, we get a small glimpse of the problem we have right here in our beautiful Mount Rushmore State. Human sex trafficking takes on any number of forms here in South Dakota, from online applications and games to advertisements at a major event (i.e. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, etc.) to a parent or other supposed “trusted adult” trafficking the children under their care.

We, at Esthers Rising, are passionate not only about our work toward having a residential restorative care home for adolescent survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation but are also passionate about educating the public about the indicators and realities of human sex trafficking. We believe that we are called not only to meet the needs of victims of the social tragedy of human sex trafficking, but also to be proactive in the education of the public at large and empowering you with the knowledge and awareness needed to take part in this fight. If you would like a speaker to come speak with your community organization, church, youth group, business, etc. we would love to come speak with you further about human trafficking awareness, internet safety, Esthers Rising, and the possibility of a partnership with us in the fight against human trafficking.

  • Matt Tramp, Community Engagement Coordinator

(To request a speaker for your organization or group, contact Matt at

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