Slavery is wrapped up in almost every industry’s supply chain, tainting the food we eat, the clothes we buy, and the electronics we love.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery and involves the movement of people by means of violence and deception for the purpose of forced labor, or slavery-like practices.
A project was created right here in North Dakota, to raise awareness, assist survivors, and more.
Founder and Executive Director, Stacy Schaffer, says it all started with her love for human rights during undergrad, specifically looking into the history of slavery.
She tells KX that after going to see a guest speaker for extra credit in a class, it led her to Guatemala longing for more answers and a way to help.
“While I was working in Guatemala I met my first survivor, there was a little girl named Ana who is trafficked from El Salvador to a brothel in Guatemala while at that brothel she was repeatedly sexually abused over and over again and regardless of who you are or what your ages that’s going to be a traumatic event and it was for her but we were able to intervene provide her with services and today she lives a relatively normal life,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer says Ana is her why.
The 31:8 project was created in 2015, but why here in North Dakota you ask?
“That’s when we really saw the boom and oil production and we started realizing hey human trafficking exists here it had always been here but the oil boom just really put more of a spotlight on it and I realize that there is just a lack of services when it came to this topic so knowing that I had been working in this field since 2006 I felt like it was just time to do the next thing,” Schaffer says.
She says since January 1, 2016, the North Dakota Human Trafficking task force, which the project is a part of, has worked with over 650 victims of human trafficking.
Schaffer says out of that number 80 percent have been North Dakota residents.
“It’s not the theory of it’s those people coming from other countries or from other states it’s actually people that are living right here in North Dakota,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer tells us the number one, increasing form of trafficking seen in our state right now is by victims’ family members, which is called familial trafficking.