In Billings on Friday, over 50 people attended special training from the Montana Department of Justice to help people in the trucking and busing industry help rescue human trafficking victims.

Spokesperson Anastasia Burton said most of the attendees were from the Billings and Bozeman area.

“Attendees included trucking and busing industry representatives, convenience store managers, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers from across the state,” said Burton.  “During the training, they learned how to spot human trafficking and how to report the activity to the proper authorities. Attendees also heard about sex trafficking case scenarios from law enforcement, prosecutors, and a survivor.”

Burton said the activity on Friday was primarily to build awareness and cooperation.

“What we did today was called a coalition build,” she said. “It’s the first one we’ve ever hosted in Montana. We’re about the 30th state that Truckers Against Trafficking to come and offer this specialized training, but it’s the fist time we’ve had this training here in Montana. It’s encouraging to know there are concerned people on the road and in our convenience stores, and we hope this training will lead to even more.”

Burton said anyone who is traveling in Montana can help be the eyes and ears in their communities.

“If folks suspect human trafficking, it’s much better if they call and report it rather than just sit back and not act,” she said. “If people are aware of a labor of sex trafficking situation, they can call their local law enforcement or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.”