Daines asks FBI not to cut trafficking, Indian Country agents

Sen. Steve Daines said he sent a letter Monday to the FBI Director Christopher Wray urging the agency not to reduce resources on human trafficking in Montana.

The Billings Gazette recently reported the special agent who had worked full-time on human trafficking will now spend half his time on Indian Country cases. An FBI spokeswoman said it is not uncommon for agents to focus on different areas during their careers. Some have called the change “a blow” to Montana anti-trafficking efforts.  

While he said he applauded the FBI for providing urgently needed law enforcement in Indian Country, he said human trafficking efforts should not be reduced.

“Both of these needs are critical to safety and each deserves complete attention,” Daines, R-Mont., wrote. He asked the bureau to assign a full-time agent focused on human trafficking and another focused on Indian Country crime in Montana.

He notes the state has taken action to bring human traffickers to justice. 

“Despite these efforts, modern-day slavery still persists throughout the state,” Daines wrote. “The FBI’s investigative and law enforcement abilities are critical in helping Montana combat this appalling crime.”

He noted violent crime on reservations is more than 21/2 times the national average. 

“The ongoing crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women must be addressed with greater urgency,” he wrote.