Posted on Nov 20, 2017
Human sex trafficking, or sexual exploitation, is an issue that is becoming more prevalent in all our communities. The number of victims is rising-despite the awareness of the issue, with the average age of entry into forced prostitution being only 13 years old. Because of the misinformation surrounding human sex trafficking many victims are going unidentified or misidentified, and the issue intertwines with nearly every other epidemic plaguing our communities. Drug abuse, addiction, homelessness, mental health services, domestic violence, child abuse, and many others.
Program Highlights for November 20, 2017

The New Colossus is a nonprofit focused on the prevention and education of sex trafficking in the United States and more specifically, the Midwest. The New Colossus focuses on rewriting new life stories for victims of human trafficking.  Human Trafficking is a $32 Billion dollar business, second only to drug trafficking. 
Founders Ashley Statema and Polly Dean have worked as advocates against sex trafficking for 10 years. Rotarians and guests learned the definition of human sex trafficking and received correct misinformation surrounding the issue in the United States.  Ms. Dean educated Rotarians on how human trafficking happens, including grooming tactics utilized, and common vulnerabilities seen locally. Eighty-five percent of victims are groomed online or through Apps.   
Ms. Dean spoke about what sexual exploitation looks like on a local level and how The New Colossus is providing education to correct misinformation and prevent misidentification. Sioux Falls is known as a "Midwest Track" because we are on located on the interstate.  Sioux City, Saint Louis, Minneapolis, and Omaha all utilize the same interstate system to make human trafficking in our community more prevalent.
The New Colossus teaches others to recognize common signs of human trafficking including creating local partnerships being built among first responders and care providers to ensure services are adequate and available, emphasizing the importance of local law enforcement, first responders, school counselors, and social workers. South Dakota passed an anti-trafficking law in 2011. Lastly, rotarians learned why preventative education and care is vital to the community and see the role schools and juvenile service providers play serving the most vulnerable populations.

Ms. Statema and Ms. Dean have researched and studied this issue spanning multiple contexts, including international and domestic cases. Global research and experiences in Kenya, Thailand, and Cambodia, have given The New Colossus great depth and understanding of what trafficking looks like overseas and how that differs and compares to trafficking in a domestic context. Over time, The New Colossus realized as much as we need victim services, there was a massive gap in prevention and education. This gap affects children, the general community, first responders, and all those that may have potential contact with victims of human trafficking.
Having worked with thousands of students and school personnel, The New Colossus has seen how the prevention practices have positively impacted children and teens through empowerment and equipping them with the tools necessary to protect themselves before victimization occurs. In some cases, victimization has already occurred, and in these cases, creating a safe space for these children to speak up and ask for help by giving them the words to put with what they may be enduring. The New Colossus message of “WHEN YOU KNOW MORE, YOU CAN DO MORE”, has inspired student led social justice groups, college campus awareness events, policy and law reform, and various community partnerships dedicated to prevention and helping some of the most vulnerable populations. 
Program for November 27, 2017
Dr. Jose-Marie Griffiths, President, Dakota State University