KALISPELL – January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and one Flathead non-profit is reaching out to parents to let them know just how big of a problem this is in our state.
Founder and director of Glory for Ashes Grace Manchala says to date, 40-million victims worldwide are forced into human trafficking, with some as young as 3-years old.
Children living a high-risk lifestyle — such as coming from a broken home or those seeking emotional or physical fulfillment — are easily targeted.
These victims are held captive and feel trapped as many are completely reliant on their pimps for money and shelter. The crimes are often overlooked and many folks don’t know it happens in the Flathead Valley.
Manchala spoke with parents in at Flathead High School on Wednesday explaining what signs they should look for in their children if they suspect they are victims of human trafficking.
“Are they very tired all the time? Do they have marks on their bodies? Do they have tattoos? Are their parent’s missing them during the night? Are they coming back late at night or getting out of their bed and leaving the house early morning?,” Manchala said.
Manchala says that Montana has come a long way in fighting these crimes, but still only about two percent of victims are rescued from that life.
She is now asking for help in supporting more strict laws for human traffickers and is planning a trip to Helena during this legislative session to speak on the issue.