Governor Mark Gordon signs proclamation declaring January "Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month"

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -- Governor Mark Gordon (R-WY) signed a proclamation in the Governor's Ceremonial Conference Room at the Capitol Building on Thursday, January 9, 2020. During the ceremony members of different organizations and state agencies across Wyoming talked about the importance of awareness when it comes to trafficking situations.

Uprising is an organization working to combat the issue in Wyoming. It's based in Sheridan. Terri Markham, a co-founder and co-director of Uprising, said, "It's just such a big deal because it's the Governor coming alongside all of us who really care about this issue and saying hey other people need to take notice of this too."

Alexandra Stevenson, also a co-founder and co-director of Uprising, said, "It doesn't need to be this sort of Hollywoodized movie version for it to be terrifying and for it to be that feeling of helplessness." Stevenson is a trafficking survivor. She said sometimes people who are in trafficking situations aren't always ready for help. She said this was true at points in her own life. "I wasn't ready for help then. If someone had told me that I was a victim of trafficking I probably would have laughed at them," Stevenson said.

Wyoming Highway Patrol said at the signing it is trying to respond to people in trafficking situations with more compassion. This is something Stevenson said is important. For those who aren't ready for help, at least someone is taking time to ask the questions and let those being trafficked know where they can go for help.

Uprising is trying to expand some of its presence in the state and is always looking for people willing to volunteer. Markham said, "What we need are people who are actively ready to say I'm here, I want to do something to help. At Uprising we're just a few bodies we can't be everywhere across the state of Wyoming."

For more information on what you can do to help, you can email Uprising at info@uprisingwyo.org. Outreach teams, hosting speakers, and even -- in the near future -- a pilot program working with youth are just some of the ways you can get more involved.