DCI Forensic Examiner honored for work fighting human trafficking
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, August 30, 2022
CONTACT: Stewart Huntington, 605-773-6878
BOX ELDER, S.D. – DCI Forensic Examiner Hollie Strand has earned the Freedom Fighter Award for her work combatting human trafficking by the advocacy group Freedom’s Journey.
“Hollie’s dedication, persistence and attention to detail helps build cases that lead to the successful prosecutions that help make our communities safer,” said South Dakota Attorney General Mark Vargo who attended the award ceremony at a fundraising dinner for Freedom’s Journey held at Box Elder’s Courtyard by Marriott on Saturday, Aug. 27. “She is well deserving of this recognition.”
Strand has worked in law enforcement for more than 24 years and her career includes a stint as Chief of Police in Martin, S.D. A Rapid City native, she serves today as part of the Division of Criminal Investigations Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. She is based in the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office and handles cases for the Rapid City Police Department, the sheriff’s office as well as the DCI.
“This is a great honor to be recognized by Freedom’s Journey,” said Strand, who tipped her hat to colleagues who share her work sifting through digital evidence. But she also pointed out that law enforcement alone cannot win the fight against human trafficking. It also takes organizations like Freedom’s Journey that work with survivors. “We make the ripple,” she said, “the advocates make the wave.”
Freedom’s Journey’s mission is to support survivors of all forms of human trafficking navigate the journey from slavery to freedom through relationships and collaboration, and to combat human trafficking through education, awareness, and legislation. Founded in 2018 by Tess Franzen, the organization grew out of her work spearheading the 2014 formation of South Dakota’s West River Human Trafficking Task Force.
“Hollie Strand has been a tireless fighter against human trafficking and advocate for survivors and is well deserving of our 2022 Freedom Fighter Award,” said Franzen. “She is a hero and we are blessed to have her on our side. She truly goes, as our award states, above and beyond in combatting human trafficking.”