At today's (Nov. 24) Missoula city council meeting, Mayor John Engen will declare December 7 be known as "Human Trafficking Awareness Day." Engen is making the pronouncement at the request of House District 94 Representative Kimberly Dudik, who plans on carrying new anti-human trafficking legislation in the upcoming legislative session.

On December 7, Missoula will host its First Annual Run for Freedom 5K, to raise awareness about human trafficking in the state.

"I've been working with the Montana Attorney General's Office for the next legislative session on a bill dealing with Human trafficking," Dudik said. "I'm looking forward working with them in January, but they are also helping us with the run on December 7. [Human trafficking] is a growing issue in Montana and we're just concerned about the victims of this crime and how we can help them and stop this problem."

The bill is still in flux, but Dudik says there is one thing she definitely wants to see in the final iteration.

"If a person is convicted of [sex trafficking] I want to see them have to register as a sex offender, just like someone would have to do if they raped someone else," Dudik said. "In Montana law right now, that is not required although in surrounding states it is, such as Washington. It lets people know what the person has done, and puts people on guard and lets them know that this person is dangerous, and why.

Montana Attorney general Tim Fox will be in Missoula on December seventh to speak about human trafficking. He will also be running in the First Annual Run for Freedom 5K, Which will start in Silver Park at 10 a.m. and is designed to help raise awareness and financial support for ending human trafficking.

Signing up for the race is $40, and racers are not required to run (walking is o.k.!). There are still racing slots open.