‘Town Crier’ – Briefs From the Region (1) – 9/26/19
FBI cuts Montana human trafficking resources in half
According to Penny Ronning of the Yellowstone County Area Human Trafficking Task Force, Montana’s lone FBI Special Agent dedicated to Montana-based human trafficking cases is now splitting his time 50-50 between former duties and Indian Country cases. Ronning has dubbed the move a “blow” to anti-trafficking efforts in the Treasure State, reports the Billings Gazette. “This decision made our state more dangerous for our children who live here and our visitors,” Ronning said, “and it made for greater opportunities for traffickers.” Special Agent Brandon Walter worked full-time on trafficking cases over the last three years when the task force was instituted and the state has hired two Division of Criminal Investigation agents to share the load with Walter’s reassignment looming large. Still, Ronning notes that trafficking is handled better on a federal level where there are additional resources and stiffer penalties.