Trafficking is all around us, in our country, our states and our region.

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.

Among their aims include the following:

  • Change in practices at women’s shelters across the state to accommodate and protect women who are seeking escape from their traffickers.
  • Decriminalizing and creating strategies for working with minor victims.
  • A  public awareness campaign, including providing exposure to missing persons who are believed to have been victims of human trafficking.
  • Educate hotel and motel staff about signs that a guest may be trafficked and steps that can be taken to safely alert authorities.
  • Web apps that women can use to communicate safely when in the presence of their trafficker.
  • Educate parents and adults regarding tactics used by traffickers to recruit minor children.
  • Educate teens through a school program warning them on the dangers of trafficking and the methods traffickers use to recruit them.

We hope that you will support and join our fight to free women, teens and children from enslavement due to human trafficking. Each of us is valuable and every one of us has a right to self-empowerment and the freedom to choose our own destinies.