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United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson has announced that the Violent Crime and Human Trafficking Conference will be held on August 12, 13, and 14, 2014. All sessions will be held at the Washington Pavilion - Mary W. Sommervold Hall, located at 301 S. Main Avenue in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The conference is co-sponsored by U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon, District of North Dakota, the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime, and Avera Health.
The first day, August 12, will focus on training for medical professionals, advocates, social workers, counselors, and others in the healthcare field. U.S. Attorney Johnson will begin the conference by providing an overview of the history, current status, and future trends of human trafficking and sexual assault in South Dakota. Additional training on the first day will include the perspective from providers, the patient’s needs, and the public’s responsibility.
The remaining day and a half of the conference, August 13 and 14, is open to the public and will cover key topics, such as increases in human trafficking and other violence against women that is occurring in the North Dakota oil fields, Internet predators in the Dakotas, sexual assault in Indian country, family violence, and working with child victims of physical and sexual assault. The conference will conclude at 12:00 noon on Thursday, August 14.
The conference will feature speakers and sessions that have been specifically designed to highlight standards of compassionate care for victims of crime, and promote coordination of that care among healthcare providers, advocates, policy makers, and law enforcement.
Among the featured speakers on August 13 will be Elizabeth Smart-Gilmour, a sexual abuse survivor, who was abducted from her bedroom in the family’s Salt Lake City home in 2002. The keynote speaker on August 14 will be a victim from the Penn State University sex scandal that involved Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach under the late Joe Paterno.
U.S. Attorney Johnson and U.S Attorney Purdon have made the prosecution of violent crimes and human trafficking top priorities in their districts. The District of South Dakota has been involved in 23 sex trafficking cases since 2010. In North Dakota, the recent “Operation Vigilant Guardian” sting led to sex trafficking charges against 14 defendants in western North Dakota.
The conference is free admission and is open to the public. There is a $10 lunch fee for the August 12 Avera Health sessions.
For the full conference agenda and to register, please follow this link: