In the Midwest, especially in North Dakota, it's a common belief that the nastiest crimes just don't happen here. That's why it may be startling to find out the North Dakota Human Trafficking Task Force reports it has helped 322 clients within the past year.

Numbers from the Federal Human Trafficking Institute show that in that same timeframe 771 trafficking cases made it to federal courts. Five of those cases — all of them sex trafficking cases — were from North Dakota, and they lead to seven convictions. These statistics however don't reflect cases being carried out at the state level, or cases that have yet made it to court.

Additionally, the report shows North Dakota did not order defendants to pay restitution in federal trafficking cases — the only state not to do so.

Hearing this news, the stereotype might be that if sex trafficking were to happen anywhere in the state, it'd be around the oil fields. This isn't entirely incorrect — the oil patch was the primary focus for those case— but experts say these types of cases happen everywhere.

If you're startled and upset by this revelation, you may be wondering what you can do to help. The U.S. Department of State has compiled a list of how you can help combat this issue.

Some things you can do:

1. Learn the signs of human trafficking

2. If you suspect someone may be a victim of human trafficking call the national hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or the ND Hotline at 701-526-4863.

3.  Volunteer.

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