(Image courtesy FBI.gov)

It’s comforting to believe child and human trafficking doesn’t happen in rural Minnesota. But when it happens to someone you’ve actually met, it becomes a lot more real.

Several years ago, the situation became a lot more real to Chris Schmitz, Redwood Youth for Christ Director. He stated to KLGR, “On Aug. 8, 2017, Jasmine Block was abducted from her home in Alexandria, MN and held as a sex slave for nearly one month… Only a few months prior, Jasmine was in the cabin next to my daughter at a YFC weekend retreat where we had lots of fun, talked about faith, and built relationships.

“When I heard the news she had gone missing and about her subsequent escape one month later, I remember feeling a familiar loss of insulation often provided by rural living. I’d felt that security broken before: when Jacob Wetterling was abducted… and again when Jacob’s killer confessed (exactly one year-to the day-of Jasmine’s escape,) proving that both boys and girls are vulnerable.”

Schmitz continued, “Sometimes we feel like trafficking and other human horrors are ‘city problems.’ The town where Jasmine was held is roughly the size of Morton–or roughly the same number of humans present in our local Middle/High School on a typical weekday.”

As a result, Schmitz has teamed up with Sean Levesque, Executive Director for Youth for Christ USA, to bring to Redwood Falls an informational meeting about child and human trafficking in rural Minnesota. KLGR’s Joshua Dixon talked with Chris and Sean about why they feel driven to educate the public about an issue that could be happening in your own neighborhood, to people you may know:

The Redwood Youth for Christ informational meeting about child and human trafficking in rural Minnesota is set for Tuesday, February 25 from 7 – 7:45 a.m. at the Redwood Falls American Legion, at 100 Industrial Drive.