Trafficked: Who’s Who

Grant Snyder

Grant Snyder

Snyder, a sergeant with the Minneapolis Police Department, leads the department’s Juvenile Sex Trafficking Team. He has trained thousands of law enforcement officers in how to handle sex trafficking cases, including hundreds of officers in North Dakota. In his day job, he has interviewed more than 1,000 women and girls involved in prostitution.



Wayne Stenehjem

Wayne Stenehjem

As the North Dakota attorney general, Stenehjem has in the past year pushed for educating law enforcement officers that many in prostitution may be victims of sex trafficking, which he believes to be the case the majority of the time. He’s also pushed for state and local agencies to go after the demand through online john stings.



Tim Purdon

Tim Purdon

Purdon, U.S. attorney for North Dakota, often says he realized that sex trafficking was a problem in western North Dakota after a November 2013 sting in Dickinson was shut down early because of such high demand for commercial sex with minors. In 2014, his office charged four alleged traffickers in federal court.



Windie Lazenko

Windie Lazenko

Lazenko came to North Dakota from Florida in fall 2013, intending to test the rumors she’d heard about trafficking here, and then report back to national groups. But now she’s here to stay, shocked at the lack of resources for victims. She founded 4her North Dakota to assist sexually exploited girls and women, and was one of the first to draw the attention of powerful officials to the problem.



Christina Sambor

Christina Sambor

Also a licensed attorney, Sambor is the head of North Dakota’s anti-sex trafficking group, FUSE. Sambor was granted a Bush Fellowship in 2014 to fight human trafficking in the state.



Jenny Gaines

Jenny Gaines

Gaines was recruited into the life of prostitution when she was a 14-year-old runaway on the streets of Minneapolis. She spent 28 years in “the life,” and now, as a survivor working at Breaking Free in St. Paul, helps other women who are still struggling to leave prostitution.

Heidi Heitkamp

Heidi Heitkamp

Heitkamp, a Democrat senator representing North Dakota in Washington, is leading a push for tougher anti-trafficking laws alongside Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Rob Fontenot

Rob Fontenot

Fontenot, an undercover agent with the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, worked on drug trafficking cases for 11 years until he was directed to shift gears and start investigating organized crime. That quickly turned into a narrower focus on human trafficking.

Paula Bosh

Paula Bosh

A native North Dakotan, Paula Bosh started working with victims of human trafficking in the summer of 2013 in her capacity as a victim specialist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Based in Minot, she works with the investigative team on a case and stays in touch with the victim, whose testimony can be key for getting a trafficker convicted.

Sadie Young Bird

Sadie Young Bird

Young Bird serves as director of the Fort Berthold Coalition Against Domestic Violence. A native of Fort Berthold, Young Bird has worked for the coalition since 2010 and has watched it grow from a staff of two to more than a dozen in response to the growing need for victim services in the heart of the Bakken.

Janelle Moos

Janelle Moos

As executive director of North Dakota’s Council on Abused Women’s Services, Moos is at the forefront of fighting for updated anti-trafficking legislation at the Capitol. Her organization oversees 20 crisis centers in the state, many of which have reported seeing more sex trafficking cases in recent years.



Jennifer Puhl

Jennifer Puhl

An assistant U.S. Attorney for North Dakota, Puhl serves as the North Dakota coordinator for Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative aimed at combating the sexual exploitation of children.

John Vanek

John Vanek

Vanek retired as a lieutenant with the San Jose Police Department after 25 years on the job, and now travels the nation training law enforcement officers and others on human trafficking. Last fall, he led training sessions in Minot, Williston, Watford City and Dickinson.