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A friendly competition between members of the Minot Police Department resulted in a significant contribution to a state organization that combats human trafficking.
The department put together 51 Bravery Backpacks for the 31:8 Project, which works with many other groups to combat human trafficking in North Dakota.
“Unfortunately, I don’t foresee human trafficking going away anytime soon,” Police Chief John Klug said. “A lot of people involved in situations like prostitution or homelessness are victims of human trafficking and they can’t get out. And it’s all ages. The sad part is it’s not going away anytime soon but hopefully we can help bring some comfort to the victims by contributing these backpacks.”
The Bravery Backpacks put together by Minot officers will be provided to victims of human trafficking in North Dakota between the ages of 2 and 12. Each backpack contains a variety of basic essentials and other items, including:
The idea came from Allison Sanford, who will attend an annual law enforcement administration support conference with Ashley Olson in Bowman this month. The idea of being part of the project was brought to Klug the beginning of September and the efforts were set in motion.
“We tried to think of a creative way to get people involved. I thought having a little competition would be a great way to do that, with the winning group getting rewarded with pizza,” the chief said. “I thought maybe we get 15 backpacks or so, but they proved me wrong.”
The department was split into teams, with each team given specific age groups to focus on when creating the backpacks with a list of needed items provided by the 31:8 Project.
“The idea is to provide some basic necessities and comfort items to those youth that are in those situations,” Klug said. “I didn’t expect it to turn into this, but it was nice to load up a whole vehicle of backpacks and send them off.”
The backpacks will be brought to the upcoming conference in Bowman, and then be distributed to the members of the North Dakota Human Trafficking Task Force.