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Breaking the cycle

Willow City resident bikes across country for human trafficking awareness

April 4, 2014
Bryce Berginski - Tribune Reporter , Pierce County Tribune

Willow City resident Georgia Rose started cycling during her last year of college in 2011. For her, it was primarily a stress reliever.

But for over 60 days, she and a cycling partner went across the country to raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking, and to raise money to build a transitional home for those coming out of it.

Rose and her partner, Jenn Krussow of Duluth, Minn., biked over 3,000 miles from San Diego, Calif., in January to St. Augustine, Fla., in March. They met while working at a Source MN transitional house in Minneapolis, as part of an urban outreach ministry that helps human trafficking victims.

Article Photos

Photo submitted by Georgia Rose, Willow City
Georgia Rose (left) and Jenn Krussow on a beach near San Diego, Calif. Their trip started in San Diego in January, and ended in St. Augustine, Fla., in March.

"If I could go 40 miles, I thought I could go cross country. It wasn't as easy as I thought," Rose said.

Both Rose and Krussow encountered speed bumps along the trek, as logged in a blog about the whole thing, which can be found at faithinactionblog.org. They encountered inclement weather, as well as times of mental and physical exhaustion. Their bikes were put to the ultimate test, with wheels needing to be replaced and trued, and spokes giving out near the end.

"It's life-changing," Rose said. "There were a lot of hard points, and there were a lot of rewarding points, too."

Rose and Krussow have raised an estimated $5,000 for a future transitional home slated to be built near the Rose organic farm near Willow City. They also raised funds for the Source Annex network and funds to help churches start transitional housing.

Rose said that human trafficking is a national issue, and it has started to hit North Dakota. She said that arrests for prostitution in N.D. have more than doubled in recent years. On her blog she cites that an estimated one in three women are abused, and 90 percent of trafficking victims are abused physically, verbally and sexually.

In 2009, according to Bakken Today, the state of North Dakota became one of 11 states to explicitly ban human trafficking. The first to be tried under that law was a Fargo man who used Craigslist to "recruit" victims, women and young girls. In 2013, a former sports editor of the Dickinson Press and one other man were arrested for human trafficking and charged with a class A felony, which carries a 20-year prison sentence.

In 2012, a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes was sentenced to 45 years in a trafficking case involving Native American women and young girls on the reservation. Rose said that victims from the reservation are often not reported as missing.

 
 

 

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