Uprising is an organization based in Sheridan that seeks to prevent human trafficking through education, outreach, and awareness. Since they launched in 2019, they’ve built connections within the Sheridan law enforcement and professional community and are seeking to build statewide awareness through these initiatives.
Uprising recently held their firstGreater Rockier Immersive Training (GRIT) conference in Sheridan to spread their message and provide training to professionals throughout the greater region.
“We had representation from all across the Rocky Mountain region,” said Terri Markham, co-founder and Executive Director of Uprising. “I’d say most of the attendees were from Wyoming, but we also had Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Minnesota. And then we had some outliers like Oregon and Texas.”
Markham admitted she doesn’t know how some of the attendees got word of the event but is glad they were able to attend. Feedback was also positive, she said, with some attendees saying they would return for next year’s conference and that they would bring other professionals they knew for it.
Human trafficking is often considered an issue in other regions or more populated areas Markham said, so a lot of Wyomingites don’t necessarily think it’s happening here. There are also preconceived notions that the trafficking equates to sex trafficking, and though there are many overlaps between the two, human trafficking occurs for many reasons, not just for sexual ones.
“I think that we have a lot of different types of trafficking that’s happening in Wyoming, but the ones that I see the most, and that I get the most personal disclosures about are above anything else [are] familial trafficking cases,” Markam said. “There are cases that I will see come across news in the state where they never call it human trafficking, but it is a human trafficking case.”
Markham added that some parents, guardians, or family members may engage in trafficking of their children or other family members for financial reasons. These include selling a family member for their labor to make ends meet or if they have addiction issues. And despite the stereotype of victims being kidnapped by strangers or somehow being trafficked against their will, trafficking can be a more low-key crime than others.
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