Missoula Legislator Heads Up National Panel on Human Trafficking
In June, Missoula attorney and legislator Kimberly Dudik co-chaired a national panel on human trafficking in Washington, D.C.
"I am part of an organization called the National Foundation for Women Legislators", Dudik said. "I am the Montana state director of that organization. About two years ago in the last legislative session we took on this subject of human trafficking. We had a national summit in June in Washington D.C. It was a very exciting summit with women from throughout the nation, and we looked at what we could do to do state of the art work in looking into combating human trafficking in our country."
Dudik said the meeting helped representatives from throughout the country share ideas.
"Every state tries different approaches and finds out what will work in their state," she said. "I know some of the legislators were very excited to hear about the human trafficking legislation I sponsored last session, called House Bill 89. Working together with Attorney General Tim Fox, we worked on changing the human trafficking laws in our state and how we're addressing this issue, so they wanted to use that as some model legislation, which was pretty exciting."
Dudik said the panel looked at three major issues involving human trafficking.
"Some of those are violence against women," she said. "We hear a lot about pay inequity and other issues, but we also see a lot of intimate partner violence and homicide. I think Montana has the highest rate that has been recorded, so we need to get to the root causes of why these things are happening, and that's something that we're keenly interested in. There are other issues such as economic development and what we can do to spur that in our state. That's why these organizations are so important, so we can share ideas, find out what works best and then mimic that in other states."