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Fight Human Trafficking, a free three-day conference to raise public awareness about the problem, will be held May 22 to 24 at Montana State University Billings.

Sponsored by the FBI and numerous law enforcement, nonprofit and educational groups, the forum will offer public sessions along with separate training sessions for law enforcement.

Human trafficking, where minors and adults are taken across state lines and forced into providing sex or labor, is a widespread national problem and is occurring in Montana’s urban and rural communities, the FBI said. The practice also is called modern day slavery.

Local students are becoming involved in “survival trafficking,” which is exchanging sex for drugs, food or money. Foreign citizens also are being brought to Montana and being compelled to work through force or coercion.

The conference will discuss the trafficking problem and highlight efforts to fight traffickers. The community also will learn how to protect children from trafficking, about resources available to victims and issues facing victims and those at risk, including those facing mental and physical health issues.

The conference is being hosted by the Yellowstone County Area Human Trafficking Task Force, which includes about 200 members from the community and more than 50 partner agencies.

In addition to the FBI, sponsors include the U.S. Department of Justice, the Montana Department of Justice, the Billings Police Department, Tumbleweed, the Children’s Alliance of Montana, DeliverFund, MSU Billings and the MSUB Foundation.

For more information on the event, contact Yellowstone County Area Human Trafficking Task Force co-chairs and conference organizers: Stephanie Baucus, 406-876-1939, stephaniebaucus@gmail.com; or Penny Ronning, 406-579-9778, pennyronning@gmail.com.

Registration is available online at http://ems.msubillings.edu/EmsRegics/YCApublictrack. Registration is encouraged by May 15.

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Locations

Federal Court, Yellowtone County Reporter

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.