The man who is a member of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force on Sex and Human Trafficking in western Montana spoke at the Missoula City Club gathering at the Doubletree Hotel Edgewater on Monday.

Missoula Police Detective Guy Baker spoke to reporters before his talk directed at city and regional leaders and several student organizations.

“Everybody seems to think this is something that only happens in big cities, other states, or other countries, when in fact it’s happening in many cities across Montana every single day,” said Baker. “The activity is not decreasing, and I don’t even know if it’s increasing, but it’s still an issue every single day.”

Baker has been working on one specific case for over a year, that of Jermain Charlo, who is still missing after being last seen in Missoula.

Travis Welsh
Travis Welsh

“Jermain Charlo is still a very active investigation and it’s been going on 16 months that she’s been missing,” he said. “Jermain is a Native American female who at 23 years old went missing in June of 2018. She was last seen in the downtown area in Missoula, and the case has been very active in which the Missoula Police Department in cooperation with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and the Flathead Tribal Police have probably expended well over 2,500 hours trying to find Jermain, and we continue to do so.”

Also attending the event was Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Lowell Hochhalter, who represents the Lifeguard Group.

Hochhalter said his group provides human trafficking education to various groups, but most recently has begun speaking to local schools.

“We educate law enforcement, we educate hospitality organizations and all these agencies, but there’s one demographic that we have failed to train, and that’s students themselves,” said Hochhalter. “They are the most vulnerable to be trafficked, so we’ve developed a one hour presentation. It’s highly motivational with video, lights, sound and everything that would attract the interest of students, and it’s called The Lifeline Project. The whole idea is to empower students, equip them and permit them to be the lifeline for a friend who may be in trouble or to help them self-identify if they are in a place where they need help.”

Hochhalter said The Lifeguard Group is hosting a masquerade ball on January 17 at Minuteman Aviation with special guest speaker Eric Bauer, who was the lead litigator who took down Back Page dot com. He can also be seen ion the documentary entitled ‘I Am Jane Doe’ which is available on Netflix.

Get more details on the Lifeguard Group by clicking here.


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