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Letter: Human trafficking an urgent problem in North Dakota

The recent roundtable discussion hosted by Rep. Kevin Cramer regarding the trafficking of women and girls was a much-needed acknowledgment of a problem that plagues our communities here and across the nation. It was a conversation that brought me hope that North Dakota can fight trafficking and its vast criminal networks, large amounts of money and ruthless disregard for human dignity.

Women subjected to trafficking are victims deserving of our compassion and support. The idea of ripping young women away from their communities, of subjecting them to the physical and emotional pain brought by this practice is unimaginable. Sadly, few of us recognize that trafficking exists around us and threatens the safety and tranquility of our communities. But by recognizing these women are victims and not defendants, we can shut down johns and traffickers, and help these victims escape the hell they live every day.

Proactive communities will make the difference. There is urgent need for understanding that this problem is happening around us before trafficking establishes a dangerous foothold in our communities. More community engagement, like Congressman Cramer’s roundtable, can help our communities shine a light on the problem of human trafficking, find solutions, and help rescue those trapped within it.

Cynthia Aafedt,