STURGIS, S.D, (KOTA TV) – Human trafficking is a difficult crime to track down. But there are some signs people can look for to help fight human trafficking as they enjoy their time at the 79th Sturgis.
The biker community is fighting against human trafficking in different ways.
Indian Motorcycle Sturgis is partnering with Ride My Road to help raise funds for the cause. The bike shop is raffling off a custom made bike called the “Survivor Bike Scout” on August 9.
Raffle tickets can be purchased through the Epik Project website for $20. The goal is to raise $60,000.
“It’s definitely something that I didn’t have any awareness of prior to becoming a part of this. It’s a huge industry that really we all need to come together to put a stop to it. It happens in your own backyard. It’s not just something that happens in big cities,” Indian Motorcycle Sturgis General Manager Lauren Hensley said.
Free the Black Hills is also making their rounds in Sturgis handing out lip balms with the human trafficking hot line number on it. The community outreach program leaves them at businesses like restaurants, bars and hotels, where people may frequently be trafficked.
Elizabeth Verhey is the organization’s co-founder and said more human traffickers come out in high volume areas.
But Rally goers can help fight human trafficking by staying alert and finding signs in the street.
“[Someone who] pays for all of their items, maybe speaks on their behalf for what they might want done at that salon or tattoo shop. You can have someone who doesn’t have a lot of their own possessions. So it gets very easy to hide that of course during the Rally because a lot of people are traveling on bikes so they’re really conservative with what they’re bringing,” Verhey said.
Hensley said it’s not that the crime lives within bikers rather, they can be a great line of defense.
“I’ve never seen more caring, more generous people than who rides on two wheels,” Hensley said.
If someone spots a possible human trafficking victim, Verhey said don’t intervene just contact law enforcement immediately.