Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery. It is the business of exploiting vulnerable women, men and children. Traffickers use force, fraud, deception or coercion, and may threaten to transport, recruit or harbor the victim to force him/her to perform sex acts against their will. It is one the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world. Wisconsin is seeing a rise in young people under 18 being exposed to the world you never expected to hear of in our community, namely, sex trafficking. The average age of a human trafficking victim in Wisconsin is 13 years old. For more information please ask to speak with a Human Trafficking Advocate.
STOP THE TRAFFICKING!!!
A teen in foster care runs away with her "boyfriend" who asks her to sleep with a few of his friends to pay rent.
Two youth are made to work long hours on a farm when they should be in school.
A mother “rents” her children to a pedophile, to support her drug addiction.
Human Trafficking is a serious crime that is punishable by both the State of Wisconsin and Federal Law.
Human Trafficking Definition:
A person is guilty of a Class D felony if he or she knowingly engages in trafficking for the purpose of a commercial sex act or labor or services and the trafficking is done through any of the following:
- Causing or threatening to cause bodily harm to any individual
- Causing or threatening to cause financial harm to any individual
- Restraining or threatening to restrain any individual
- Violating or threatening to violate a law• Destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating or possessing any actual or purported passport or official document of any individual or threatening to do the same
- Fraud or deception
- Debt bondage
- Controlling any individual’s access to an addictive controlled substance
- Using a scheme or pattern to cause an individual to believe that any individual would suffer bodily harm
Because many trafficking victims have abuse and neglect histories, child welfare workers may come into contact with children who have either been trafficked or who are at risk of being trafficked. It is important that we are prepared to identify “red flags” that indicate a child may have been trafficked, and refer these cases for services and/or to law enforcement or the local district attorney’s office, if appropriate. You have an opportunity to educate children about how to protect themselves against traffickers, thereby potentially preventing a child from being victimized.
Common Myths about Human Trafficking
- Human Trafficking requires an international or state border crossing.
False - no movement is needed for a situation to be considered “trafficking.”
- Smuggling is required for Human Trafficking.
False - smuggling is not required, but a person who is smuggled may also be a victim of human trafficking.
- Human trafficking victims must be foreign nationals.
False - victims may be U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, or undocumented persons.
- Trafficking victims must be kidnapped and/or restrained physically.
False - victims may be threatened or manipulated into compliance, but do not necessarily have to be physically restrained or locked up.
- If a victim previously consented to abuse or was paid, then it is not trafficking, even if they are no longer consenting and/or being paid.
False - a person can become a victim, even if they were originally compliant or paid.
Victims of trafficking can be found in:
- Hospitality Services
- Restaurants, Hotels, Janitorial, etc.
- Factory Work
- Domestic Servitude
- Nannies, Servants, etc.
- Peddling or Begging
- Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industries
- Small businesses
- Door-to-door sales
- Nail salons
- Traveling Carnivals
- Commercial sex
- Prostitution, Massage Parlors, Pornography, On-line exploitation, etc.
Who is the Average Trafficking Victim?
Although all children are vulnerable, previously identified cases suggest that the following populations are at a higher risk of being trafficked:
- Runaway and homeless youth
- Children within the foster care system
- Children with histories of abuse
- Children with histories of substance abuse
- Children with disabilities
- Youth in the juvenile justice system
- LGBTQ youth
- Refugees, immigrants, and non-English-speaking persons
More Information about Victims:
- 80% of identified victims are female
- Over 50% are children
- Average age of initial victimization: 13 years old
- It is estimated that 100,000-300,000 U.S. citizen children are currently involved in sex trafficking.
List to help you identify:
- Unexplained bruises or cuts or other signs of physical abuse.
- Appears to be in a relationship with someone who is dominating.
- Never is alone and/or always has someone translating or answering questions on their behalf.
- Not in control of their own finances.
- Presents with secrecy or unable to answer questions about where they live.
- Inconsistent details when telling their story.
- Has no identification such as a license, passport or other ID documents.
- Inability to leave their job or residence. Says they cannot schedule appointments.
- Being a recent arrival to the United States and does not speak English.
- Is under 18 and providing commercial sex acts. Or at any age unwillingly providing commercial sex acts.
- Is afraid of law enforcement or receiving help from an outside entity.
- Seem anxious, fearful or paranoid. Avoids eye contact.
Why do they return:
- Foster Care/Home
- No control; can’t go where and when I want to
- Can’t drink alcohol or do drugs
- I can’t buy the clothes I want or get my hair and nails done
- I don’t like living in a group home, I want to be part of a family
- I have some control; I get to go to parties and stay out late at night
- He/She will give me drugs and alcohol
- He/She lets me wear “grown up” clothes and pays to get my hair and nails done
- I get to live in his/her house with other girls who are like family to me
How can you help?
- Ask the person if you can help him/her find a safe place to go immediately.
- If the person needs time, create an action plan with him/her to get to a safe place when he/she is ready.
- Call and make a report to the human trafficking hotline at 1.888.3737.888. The hotline has language capabilities, so any individual can call directly
To request information about human trafficking you can visit the following websites:
Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault
or if you need assistance in reporting please contact Women and Children’s Horizons. 262-656-3500