North Iowa native's goal: Rescue victims of child trafficking

Hampton native Tami Hochhalter and her husband run the Lifeguard Group. They have made it their personal mission to rescue children from human trafficking.

Posted: Sep 28, 2020 10:43 PM
Updated: Sep 29, 2020 6:33 AM

HAMPTON, Iowa - We've heard time and time again about how widespread human trafficking is across the country.  Young children are being coerced into what amounts to sex slavery.  There is an organization rescuing as many children as it can from this scourge.

The Lifeguard Group is run by a husband and wife team.  They are based in Montana, but operate all across the country, because the problem of child trafficking is happening everywhere.

"Every state in the United States and I believe, every county, every town, every community has seen human trafficking within its borders in some way," said Tami Hochhalter, one of the founders of Lifeguard Group.

Because trafficking can take many forms, it can happen almost anywhere.  The Lifeguard Group works with law enforcement to save these exploited children.  Hochhalter recounts one of their first rescue operations during a Super Bowl game nearly 10 years ago.

"When they busted down that door, there was a 52-year-old man with a 9-year-old girl and that was our first real rescue case. Heartbreaking, because you do see the face of your own child," said Hochhalter.

It's a crusade with plenty of highs and lows.  For emotionally scarred kids, it can be difficult to break the cycle of this abusive life.

"Statistically they say a girl or boy will return to the life approximately 7 times before they stay out. So you know your work is cut out for you," she said.

According to Hochhalter, it can take a long time to build trust with the kids she is trying to help.  She remembers one heart-felt phone call.

"One night, right before she hung up, I said, 'Well good night.' She goes, 'Wait.' There was a pause and she said, 'I love you' and then she hung up. Whew, waterworks, instantly!"

The odds are not in their favor when it comes to locating these scores of missing children.  Good news is hard to come by.

"When we get a victory, it's a victory for us and we celebrate, because only one percent are ever found."

She also said people should keep their eyes open in public for children who are being trafficked.  One red flag could be a man who is traveling with a group of many young girls.  If the situation seems or feels out of place, you should try to get help.

The Lifeguard Group is also raising money to purchase a home they plan to use to shelter some of their victims.  Their organization is seeking donations to help make the purchase.  You can visit their website here, for more information on how to donate.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 126591

Reported Deaths: 2334
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin32743974
Ramsey13510352
Dakota9389136
Anoka8216150
Stearns548540
Washington534568
Scott323434
Olmsted312529
St. Louis273865
Wright231414
Nobles217416
Clay209343
Blue Earth19797
Carver17147
Kandiyohi16004
Rice15869
Sherburne158321
Mower149415
Winona120918
Lyon9336
Crow Wing92021
Waseca9189
Chisago8902
Benton8625
Beltrami8137
Otter Tail7836
Todd7415
Steele7332
Nicollet68917
Itasca68817
Freeborn6474
Morrison6438
Douglas6243
Martin59916
Le Sueur5915
McLeod5734
Watonwan5724
Goodhue52911
Polk5274
Pine5160
Becker5053
Isanti5044
Chippewa4043
Carlton3921
Dodge3700
Mille Lacs36411
Hubbard3352
Wabasha3320
Pipestone33016
Cass3285
Meeker3123
Brown3073
Rock3041
Yellow Medicine2685
Cottonwood2640
Murray2583
Redwood25111
Fillmore2410
Sibley2403
Renville23311
Faribault2140
Roseau2110
Jackson2011
Wadena2011
Unassigned19553
Swift1921
Kanabec19110
Houston1831
Lincoln1710
Pennington1701
Stevens1691
Koochiching1634
Aitkin1572
Pope1480
Big Stone1290
Lac qui Parle1263
Wilkin1264
Lake1080
Mahnomen1011
Norman1010
Grant904
Marshall901
Clearwater880
Red Lake612
Traverse540
Lake of the Woods431
Kittson330
Cook110

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 109660

Reported Deaths: 1580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk18245283
Woodbury689694
Johnson568330
Black Hawk530098
Linn5173128
Dubuque479754
Scott413437
Story389818
Dallas333744
Pottawattamie303244
Sioux231714
Buena Vista221312
Marshall194736
Webster174014
Plymouth157126
Wapello148362
Clinton138226
Muscatine136958
Crawford132412
Des Moines12819
Cerro Gordo127823
Warren11716
Carroll105210
Jasper103634
Henry9995
Marion94810
Tama91137
Lee89810
Delaware7099
Dickinson7017
Wright6981
Boone6869
Mahaska64024
Bremer6299
Washington61811
Harrison5928
Jackson5463
Benton5291
Lyon5257
Clay5014
Louisa49815
Hamilton4543
Winneshiek4519
Winnebago44718
Hardin4445
Kossuth4430
Poweshiek43911
Floyd41911
Jones4173
Emmet41217
Cedar4115
Buchanan4054
Iowa3858
Cherokee3762
Franklin37518
Guthrie37415
Sac3724
Page3680
Clayton3583
Butler3502
Mills3501
Shelby3501
Fayette3483
Cass3452
Madison3442
Allamakee3358
Chickasaw3301
Clarke3193
Humboldt3003
Palo Alto2932
Hancock2924
Grundy2855
Calhoun2784
Howard2589
Osceola2540
Monroe24911
Mitchell2360
Monona2331
Taylor2252
Union2174
Pocahontas2142
Jefferson2101
Appanoose2093
Lucas1916
Fremont1861
Ida1812
Greene1800
Van Buren1642
Davis1624
Montgomery1595
Adair1471
Keokuk1451
Decatur1400
Audubon1371
Worth1330
Wayne1133
Ringgold822
Adams700
Unassigned90
Rochester
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 24°
Mason City
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 28°
Albert Lea
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 25°
Austin
Overcast
36° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 27°
Charles City
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 28°
Tracking another round of snow for the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

American Heritage Girls project

Image

NIACC funding to boost internet

Image

Salvation Army Coat Drive

Image

Good Jobs Now campaign

Image

Is It Safe To Vaccinate Your Pet At Home?

Image

Safe Halloween Activities

Image

IA AG Officer Implements Rape Kit Tracking Software

Image

RST Impact on Hospitality and Tourism

Image

FOR BRI 10-22-2020

Image

Jet makes emergency landing at RST

Community Events