Law Enforcement on the lookout for traffickers during Sturgis Rally
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally brings in hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Black Hills area, most looking for a fun getaway, a time to enjoy themselves and the camaraderie of the event.
But at large scale events such as the rally, there is a higher risk for human trafficking – the exploitation of an individual for sex or labor through force, fraud or coercion.
Supervisory Special Agent with the Division of Criminal Investigation, Brent Gromer, says minors who are at risk are vulnerable already. They may be runaways or those addicted to drugs and victims with past sexual abuse.
While local law enforcement looks out for certain types of behaviors, they also ask the public to be on alert for any potentially dangerous situations.
“So, I would say any person that appears to be under the control of somebody else may certainly be suspicious … as it relates to prostitution and trafficking, we often see these women or young ladies that basically live out of the purses. We always tell law enforcement to look for multiple hotel room keys and things of that nature that you would commonly see in sex trade.”
Gromer says that if you see something – say something. Go with your gut instinct.
“I would say if anybody sees anything suspicious you contact your local law enforcement … I guess I would rather err on the side of caution.”
For statistics of human trafficking in South Dakota, click here.