Montana Senator Steve Daines spoke on Wednesday at the Human Trafficking Awareness event sponsored by the Montana Native Women's Coalition at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Daines said the conference dealt primarily with human trafficking in Native American country.

"Human trafficking is really a modern form of slavery," Daines said. "We think of this as a problem that occurs primarily in big cities, but this is actually going on right here in Montana, in our own back yards. We heard stories today of cases taking place in Hamilton, Glasgow, and we hear of what's going on the the Bakken, the challenges there."

Daines said he was encouraged by the turnout at the event.

"We had to turn away people, they seated the capacity at the conference, so there's a lot of interest in this subject, with law enforcement building awareness and helping those who are most vulnerable," he said. "Because human trafficking is primarily a cash business, that's where you'll find the involvement of organized crime."

Daines said what was of most concern to him was how young peoples' lives had been shattered by human trafficking.

"Probably the most troubling part of this is we're seeing the robbing of innocence of young boys and girls, not to mention adults, as well," Daines said. "This is a serious problem and I'm glad we're building awareness and fighting for those who are most vulnerable and being a voice who don't have a voice."

Senator Daines said he was able to deliver encouraging news to the attendees.

"We were able to give them an update," he said. "We passed an anti-human trafficking bill in the U.S. Senate a few weeks ago and the President signed it. This provides some greater protections for individuals, especially children. It also provides some additional funding. Most importantly, just letting them know they have an advocate back in Washington. It'll be a voice for those who don't have a voice."


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