We invite you to view this video featuring Sister JoAnn Sturzl and Cojourner Mary Ihli who are working toward building awareness of the reality of human trafficking.


The Presentation Sisters and BizNOW magazine have partnered to create monthly social justice articles. The May article reflects on human trafficking.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Paula” was four years old when she was trafficked for the first time. Her mother invited men into the house and sometimes rewarded her with ice cream or toys after they left. She was in her late 30’s when she was able to consider herself a survivor. She will never get her childhood back.

Human Trafficking is alive and active throughout many towns in South Dakota. It is a reality today and often times happening right in front of us. Bringing awareness to our communities can be a key aspect to deterrence. Since 2009, there have been more than 50 federal sex trafficking cases in the state of South Dakota and we have the 2nd highest trafficking related calls in the United States. Children make up 50% of the victims. Being committed to recognizing oppression and alleviating inequality whenever possible is part of our Presentation Mission. Every Monday, a dedicated group of women and men come together at the Call to Freedom Office to pray for the elimination of sex trafficking and for all persons who are caught in this dehumanizing web. There are many aspects to that prayer:

• Those being trafficked

• Those trafficking

• Those requesting men, women & children for sex

• Those who tirelessly work to restore dignity to the survivors

• Law enforcement and the court system


Interstates 90 and 29, and other highways that run through South Dakota, are part of the “Midwest Pipeline”, the superhighways used to deliver trafficking victims in and out of South Dakota.

As a community, we need to increase our awareness as we work together to safeguard those we love. Ways to get involved may include:

• Attending the monthly Call to Freedom Luncheon to stay updated

• Requesting an information session for awareness at your church or business

• Adopting a survivor, individually or as a business

• Praying for all those involved in the dark web of trafficking

Silence won’t end Human Trafficking. Ignorance and unawareness is part of the problem. Learn how to be part of the solution and view details about the monthly luncheon by visiting: www.calltofreedom.org/events

Challenge Question: For whom can you be a voice today?

This article was submitted by Sister JoAnn Sturzl and Mary Ihli who pray faithfully at Call to Freedom each week. Sister JoAnn is also a member of the Avera Health Board and a PRH educator. Mary is a Cojourner with the Presentation Sisters and volunteers her time to many organizations in the community. Thank you to Call to Freedom for providing statistics and stories to be used in this article.


We invite you to take a moment and view the human trafficking video above the article.