What is Human Trafficking
International Justice Mission estimates that there are still over 40 Million slaves in the world. That injustice is prevalent in the Greater Milwaukee region and throughout Wisconsin. There has been a human trafficking case in every county in Wisconsin. 79% of those cases occur in Milwaukee and of that, 92% of those cases involve youth. From 2010-2014 law enforcement identified 102 child sex trafficking victims.
As Milwaukee Detective Dawn Jones often states, these numbers are just scratching the surface of the issue Milwaukee and Wisconsin faces.
But What is Human Trafficking? According to the Department of Homeland Security
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.
Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that human trafficking generates many billions of dollars of profit per year, second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime.
Human trafficking is a hidden crime as victims rarely come forward to seek help because of language barriers, fear of the traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement.
Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. They look for people who are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters, or political instability. The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.
What can be done
People need to know about the issue and become more knowledgeable. Along with this, prevention efforts are vital to ending human trafficking and child sexual exploitation. Efforts such as addressing the fact that there is a demand to buy these services, especially from children.
Laws are important in winning the fight. Advocating for stronger criminal prosecution of both the trafficker and the buyer. It is also important to advocate for sustainable government funding for organizations that are working to help this population.
The lack of long-term housing for survivors is key challenge in locally and globally. Locally, one of the main reasons is the huge financial weight of operating a home for minors. It requires certification, highly trained staff, along with basic needs for the survivors.
Together we can accomplish more! Greater strategic partnerships that make awareness, advocacy, and aftercare sustainable with a high level of quality and impact.
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