The latest edition of the Yellowstone Valley Woman Magazine has a very hard-hitting feature on the human trafficking problem here in Montana. It is definitely a must-read for folks all across Montana.

Here's what stood out to me: while we know there is a problem with human trafficking here in Montana, and especially along the I-90 corridor- what we don't realize is how many of the victims come from Central and Eastern Montana.

Here's an excerpt from Laura Bailey's piece from the latest Yellowstone Valley Woman Magazine:

In 2018, Tumbleweed identified about 85 young people who were victims of sexual exploitation, but  Cady suspects that number may be higher because stories of sexual trauma and victimization aren’t usually something young people want to share.

Bailey also interviewed FBI Agent Brandon Walter, who combats human trafficking for the FBI in Montana. She writes, "There’s a reason why Montana is called 'The Truck Stop State' in sex trafficking circles."

According to Walter, men in the Billings area will pay about $150 per half hour for commercial sex, and up to $800 for sex with a child. Like any industry, supply and demand drives the prices and right now, Billings, and Montana in general, are among the most profitable places for commercial sex in the western United States. Walter offers a comparison. In Seattle, he says, the rate is roughly $60 for a half hour. In Las Vegas, commercial sex goes for around $40 per half hour. Each client moves the victim closer to her daily “quota.” A trafficked girl, in many cases, can’t eat or sleep until she earns her $1,500 to $2,000 a night.

Full audio of our conversation with VYW's Julie Koerber and Georgia Cady with Tumbleweed can be heard by clicking below: