If you have lived in South Dakota for any period of time you are aware of the Sturgis Rally.
This year it celebrated its 72nd year of existence. The small town of 6400 people swells to as many as 600,000. It’s probably safe to assume that the vast majority of bikers are good people going to enjoy themselves, friends and family.
But there is a dark seedy side of the rally that many are either unaware of or choose to remain blind to. No, it’s not the drugs or the murders or stabbings or even well-known gangs although that certainly all plays a role. No the most frightening problem with the Sturgis Rally is human sex trafficking. Yep! Just because you see girls with scantily clad outfits, body paint, pasties and thongs posing for pictures with a big smile on their face doesn’t mean that they want to be there. They could be enslaved. It is a growing problem within the state of South Dakota and yet the eyes of the vast majority are shut to it.
Our children are being sucked into the 3rd largest illegal industry in the United States and it is happening because we are oblivious to it. It’s not just in the streets of Bangkok or Calcutta or some other far away land its alive and thriving right here in South Dakota.
It’s time for people to take a stand against the evil that is thriving under our noses. The first place to start is in our hearts. When you see a girl, especially at the rally, don’t assume that she wants some big burly guy to drag her behind him with chains wrapped around her body. Consider whether or not she is TRULY his slave because it’s likely she could be. Don’t assume when you see girls dancing at “those kinds of places” that they want to dance. Pretty faces and big smiles does not equal enjoyment. These girls are doing what they do because they have been brainwashed, beaten, drugged, raped (repeatedly) and starved. They are doing it to survive.
It doesn’t stop there. The Sturgis Rally is only one event. Many kids ranging from 13-18 are being coerced out of South Dakota or are being held captive right in our state. Pimps troll social media like Facebook looking for easy prey, they sit in malls or at the pools watching – waiting. It’s a simple process that seems to work very well for the predators. They find a child that has low self-esteem, a rocky home life and few friends; before you get too comfortable realize that I never mentioned income, these kids come from ALL sides of the track. The pimps groom their prey with nice gifts and kind words and once the hook is set they pull. Girls are gang raped, beaten, and drugged; then the unthinkable, they are sold which means they are raped 10 to 15 times per day. They are told that if they don’t do what is required the pimp will hurt their family members or friends and that their “lifestyle” will be exposed for all to see. It’s an excellent maneuver to keep the kids quiet and it works. Most kids and adults who are enslaved will rarely tell what is happening to them…even if they are arrested. Let’s be honest – if they did tell would we believe them?
Stand for the children of our state. You can do something; become educated about the problem, stop assuming that a prostitute wants to be prostitute or that a dancer wants to dance and then support people like Susan Omanson and Be Free Ministries. Let’s STOP human sex trafficking by shining light into a very dark place.
***Tammy Fenner*** is the owner of Transform Media