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Advanced Human Trafficking Task Force Training

Silos are great, when they are used for grain; but when applied to helping victims of human trafficking the silo method falls short. The sole purpose of silos is to store one type of item, to not let it “mix” with other things, to keep the grain dry, cool, and dark. This is how investigations used to be handled. Each agency working on their own, and though they might be protected in their discipline, they often missed out on seeing the bigger picture and getting insight from other people working to resolve the same cases. Those agencies working with human trafficking survivors knew that there had to be a better way. Which is why in 2014, the West River Human Trafficking Task Force was created with the mission “To help prepare Western South Dakota to meet the challenges that Human Trafficking presents”, and in doing so break down those silos.

In an answer to that call, seven MDT members attended that Advanced Human Trafficking Task Force Training put on by the Office of Victim Crimes Training and Technical Assistance Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. Not only was the title a mouthful but the purpose could have been daunting. This training strove to bring regional task forces together to enhance the level of knowledge and promote the MDT approach in the response to human trafficking in our areas. We use the phrase, “it takes a village” a lot in our daily work and this training experience was no different. Law Enforcement, Tribal Agencies, State and Federal levels of Prosecution, and Non-Governmental Direct Service Providers representing South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin all spent three and half days immersing themselves in the best practices for addressing human trafficking. Tifanie Petro, Forensic Interviewer and Education and Public Awareness Specialist, for Children’s Home Child Advocacy Center was one of the individuals selected to attend. The session focused on human trafficking basics, trauma-informed victim interviewing, and effective prosecution strategies. Child Advocacy Centers were noted as playing a vital role in the team approach to addressing human trafficking. The trauma-informed interviewing, the skilled interviewers, and the child-friendly approach were all highlighted as reasons to make connections with your local CACs.

Like all kinds of abuse against children human trafficking is not going away anytime soon, and although we dream of total eradication there is a lot of work to be done. Children’s Home Child Advocacy Center will continue to move the mission forward, lending both our support and expertise to our MDT partners. It was an honor to have been chosen to attend such a selective training and to be at the table while discussions of change, fueled by the passion for keeping kids safe, happens at so many levels. Communities can become involved by learning more and reaching out to their local task force for training and education awareness opportunities. Addressing human trafficking requires each one of us to be aware and involved because survivors deserve nothing less!


By Tifanie Petro

Forensic Interviewer/Education and Public Awareness Specialist

Children’s Home Society of South Dakota

The Child Advocacy Centers of South Dakota

CACSD is a network of Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient – and put the needs of child victims first.

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Reporting abuse or neglect can protect a child and get help for a family – it may even save a child’s life. Learn more about reporting child abuse here.