Publish Date: January 3, 2017
Human Trafficking–in Wisconsin?
Earlier this year, the FBI held their 10th annual Operation Cross Country to assist minors who are trafficked and arrest those who are exploiting them. Law enforcement partners and representatives from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children joined in the effort.
Operations took place in hotels, at truck stops and along street corners. This year’s event recovered 82 sexually exploited juveniles and arrested 239 sex traffickers. The youngest victim in the US was 13 years old.
In 2013, I assisted the Fond du Lac Police Department in Operation Cross Country. A room in a nice hotel was used. An officer checked online sites to locate any female that he believed to be underage selling herself for sex. Then he called to set up a “date.” The problem was not finding these victims. It was trying not to have too many come at the same time.
The women were taken to the police department where an advocate from ASTOP sexual abuse services was ready to meet with them. One young mother was prostituting herself to send money to her boyfriend who was in prison in Florida. Two other females told us of being involved in prostitution since age 12, when their “boyfriends” convinced them to do it for them.
The previous year, a young mother came for a “date” while leaving her toddler alone in the vehicle.
A pimp often brought a girl to the hotel and parked outside, waiting to take the money when she was finished. Charisma was each one’s strong point. It was easy to see how juveniles could be drawn in.
More often than not, the person prostituting is a victim. Circumstances, poor judgment, and bad or lack of parenting bring them to this dark place.
Go to BeFreeWisconsin.com or call 1-888-373-7888 for more information.
ASTOP Sexual Assault Advocate