In Wisconsin, there is more work to be done than there are people to do the work. There have been many organizations and leaders in Milwaukee and throughout the state who have recognized the trafficking that is happening in our own communities, however in order to end the commercial sex industry in Wisconsin for good, more people need to be aware of the issue and do their part to fight it. Exploit No More has had the opportunity to partner with a number of strong organizations that share our same passion to end trafficking and who work collaboratively with us to bring awareness to the issue and services to victims. In 2015, there were a few highlights of Exploit No More’s work and partnerships that are taking steps to accomplishing those goals, as well as that provide opportunities for volunteers and donors to become more actively involved in fighting trafficking.
Throughout the summer of 2015, Exploit No More brought on an intern passionate about reaching at-risk youth to share warning signs and information about sex trafficking. She worked to create a well-researched presentation explaining general information about labor and sex trafficking, then focusing specifically on the recruitment, grooming, and exploitation phases of sex trafficking. During her presentations to a middle-school aged group in the city of Milwaukee, there were many deep and thought provoking questions and conversations that were brought up as the young teenagers listened and learned about trafficking. Exploit No More plans to use this presentation to continue to educate school classes and youth groups about the realities and dangers of sex trafficking, as well as to use other longer-term programs to specifically reach girls at a higher risk of trafficking.
In fall 2015, Exploit No More partnered with Wisconsin Safe Families, SaintA, La Causa, and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to host an informational meeting about fostering at-risk youth. Launching a program entitled “Finding Home”, the event consisted of a panel discussion around the topic of fostering youth who has been trafficked or who are at a high risk of being trafficked. Each of Exploit No More’s participating partners provided additional foster care training specifically geared towards trauma informed care while also providing additional assistance and guidance throughout the course of fostering.
In November 2015, four survivors in the Milwaukee area joined Exploit No More staff for a national conference in Washington D.C. for service providers and survivors of sex trafficking. The women were able to join other survivors from around the nation in survivor-only sessions and networking times, as well as network with other service providers, hear other survivor’s stories, and gain a vision for how they can use their own experience to help others. While not every part of the conference was easy, the conversations and dreams these women have had since the conference have been inspiring, and it will be exciting to see the work that they do in the coming years.
Exploit No More hosted a training for volunteers who wish to reach out to hotels in the Metro-Milwaukee area. The training included tips on how to discuss the topic of sex trafficking with a hotel manager, signs that hotel management and staff should watch for, and steps that should be taken if suspected trafficking is occurring within a hotel. Volunteers also passed out brochures with trafficking information as well as posters of missing girls from the Milwaukee area. Exploit No More’s hotel outreach training is a yearly event that has led to leads on missing girls.
These four areas are just a few of the exciting ways that Exploit No More has been working to fight sex trafficking in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas. As we move in 2016, we look forward to continuing to grow these programs, as well as to begin new and more in depth aftercare. If you have an interest in volunteering, giving presentations, fostering at-risk youth, or sponsoring survivors for future conferences, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.