Trafficking is all around us, in our country, our states and our region. Local events can drive this even more. But today, an unlikely alliance is breaking the chains that bind and fighting to empower women to claim their futures. South Dakota State Senator Lynne Hix-DiSanto (District 35 – Rapid City/Box Elder), a survivor of a violent domestic relationship, and Sally, a survivor of trafficking residing around the Rapid City area, are joining forces to create a platform that seeks to abolish the practice of human trafficking. Both Lynne and Sally know what it feels like to have their voices stifled, their freedoms repressed and their physical well-being threatened. These two women could easily have languished in shame and fear, but together they are speaking their truth and creating a forum for other survivors to reclaim their voices and their lives.
This alliance is forging uncomfortable conversations in our male-dominated government. Lynne, who serves in the legislature where out of 70 State House Representatives, only 15 (or 21%) are women. But this doesn’t scare these two women warriors. Lynne and Sally understand that to shed a light on the abuses of trafficking, this topic needs to be in the forefront and men need to be a part of both the conversation and the solution.
After Sally’s trafficker not being prosecuted, or found criminally liable, in a nationally watched and precedent setting case, Sally sued her trafficker civilly. Her landmark case being heard in front of the South Dakota Supreme Court. If the court finds for Sally, it will be the first time a trafficker is held civilly liable for his actions.
Their story concludes with an unstoppable sisterhood between two unlikely women who have brought and passed legislation regarding trafficking and violence against women and children.
Now speaking publicly and telling their stories in candid detail, they provide information regarding the horrors of abuse as well as their journey into new lives after leaving their captors, while continuing to work together on further aims.