As awareness about sex trafficking in Milwaukee grows, people are called to action. Our hearts are stirred. We are angry. And we want to see change. Once you see the dark realities of human slavery in our corner of the world and across the globe, the thought that naturally follows is –
“What can I do?”
“Tell me how I can help.”
On October 12, Exploit No More and International Justice Mission co-hosted an awareness and advocacy training to equip attendees with some “everyday ways” to engage the issue of sexual exploitation in our community.
We were joined by speakers from the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office, the Inner Beauty Center, and the Benedict Center, who spoke to their own experiences in working with victims of sexual exploitation in Milwaukee. We concluded the training with a panel Q&A, which included our speakers, as well as everyday people who have stepped up to engage in anti-human trafficking efforts across the state (like the talented team behind Give Art Give Hope).
Several take-aways came out of the training:
1) Sex trafficking is a deeply embedded industry that is perpetuated by a community’s lack of resources, poverty, and the demand for sex. Faults in justice systems also contribute to the problem on a global scale.
2) Milwaukee has one of the highest child sex trafficking victim recovery rates in the nation. In 2012, we were at the top of the list for law enforcement recovery rates in a one-night sweep known as Operation Cross Country. Current statistical measures cannot accurately predict the widespread scope of the problem because of the transient nature of the industry and complexities added by the internet.
3) Sex trafficking is found in every county in Wisconsin. Recruitment is not limited to the “streets.” Many kids meet their traffickers online or through friends, and many victims are trafficked from childhood through adulthood.
Nearly 200 people attended the workshop to learn more about how they could make an impact. While the subject was heavy, and the statistics grim, it was an exciting and hope-filled time of conversation and brainstorming. In case you missed it, we’ve included a summary of each of the speaker’s organizations, as well as a few other helpful resources HERE.
We’ll recap with suggestions about how you can get involved with the organizations on our list:
1. Lend your gifts
You don’t have to be an attorney, police officer, or lobbyist to have an impact. Volunteers create our flyers, review our legal policies, and take photos for our website – and these are just a few examples of how people plug-in to our work to effect change.
There is a place for everyone to leverage their gifts and propel our collective effort to stop this injustice. Contact the organizations on the list above to lend your interests and skills.
Mobilize + Team Up
Team up and have fun! Men’s groups, book clubs, and friends have all teamed up to have yard sales, host percentage dining nights, or golf outings to raise awareness and funds for Exploit No More. You can also sign up to donate on each organization’s website, including Exploit No More’s.
Stand up + Sign Up
Change happens when dedicated individuals stand together as a group. With political leaders and advocates increasingly faced with tough decisions about how to allocate resources, we can support them by letting them know we stand behind their efforts to stop trafficking.
Sign up for our newsletter and social media networks to tell political leaders, advocates, and friends that you stand with Exploit No More in the fight against injustice. (Check out IJM’s Freedom Commons, too.)
With each new person added to our lists, we’re able to tell leaders in our community just how many people care about trafficking victims in our city and why they should, too.
For more resources, documentaries, and books, check out Exploit No More’s Pinterest page. You can also find comprehensive toolkits and fact sheets from the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation’s website.
To hear more about our plans to open an aftercare home in the Milwaukee area, join us for our Fall Update meeting:
Thursday, November 21
7pm – Elmbrook Church Chapel
777 S Barker Rd, Brookfield, WI 53045