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Forensic examiner with DCI honored for work fighting human trafficking in South Dakota

“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.

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Journey Church Pastor James Moore, left, hands DCI Forensic Examiner Hollie Strand the 2022 Freedom Fighter award at a fundraising event held for Freedom’s Journey, a human trafficking survivors' support organization. The event was held at the Courtyard Marriott in Box Elder on Aug. 27, 2022.
Contributed / Office of the Attorney General
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BOX ELDER, S.D. – A forensic examiner with the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) has been honored for combating human trafficking in South Dakota.

Hollie Strand, a 24-year law enforcement veteran was awarded Aug. 27 the Freedom Fighter Award 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, part of which she spent as the chief of the Martin Police Department.

A Rapid City native, Strand now serves as part of the DCI's 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 Pennington County Sheriff’s Office as well as the DCI.

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“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,” Franzen said. “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 combating human trafficking.”

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