“Sex trafficking, and I’m speaking as a man, is a demand-driven business,” said the vice president of Operation Shield, Ben Stutzman.
The nationwide problem tends to be looked at as being tragic but rare, people tend to visualize,”People bound and tied up and looking very like they’ve been kept in a basement, and so often that’s not the case,” said sex trafficking survivor and director of survivor services at the Advocacy Center, Windie Lazenko.
When in reality, falling into a sex trafficking ring can happen to anyone, anywhere, male or female.
“Abduction is very very rare as a form of recruitment,” says Lazenko.
With so many platforms to meet strangers in our day through the internet, sex traffickers can meet potential victims and find potential buyers for ones they already have, with ease.
“A lot of it is done through building relationship, right the trafficker’s build relationship with vulnerable people in order to lure them away.”
Traffickers will typically promise or give the victim something they desire such as material things or security, and this will persuade the victim to participate in the sex trafficking ring, but once they’re in, it can be hard for them to get out.
“The way I like to put it into perspective for people that are under the impression that it doesn’t happen here, is everybody knows that Idaho is experiencing population growth, and actually what that’s done is increased the demand here in Idaho so that leaves the community vulnerable,” said Lazenko.
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office is always staying alert to keep the community safe.
“You know we’re always on the lookout for evidence of those things and when we find that and if we’re able to act on it, we act on it as much as we can,” said Bonneville County Sheriff’s, Bryan Lovell.
Here in Idaho Falls, for people who are survivors of sex trafficking or current victims or it, resources are available.
“The trauma center is a great resource for people going through human and sex trafficking because we’re a resource for them, we want to build a community for them that is supportive, we have those resources for that,” said the office manager at the Advocacy Center, Whitney Ryan.
For more information on the Advocacy Center, you can call (208) 712-7077.