‘Buyer Beware’: Brown County Human Trafficking Sting Results In 35 Arrests

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) — The Brown County Sheriff’s Office has a message for people looking to purchase sex in our area: “Buyer beware.”

That’s what Chief Deputy Todd Delain said Thursday during a news conference on a recent human trafficking sting in the county.

“If you’re a buyer looking for sex in Brown County, buyer beware. You might be dealing with a law enforcement officer that’s looking to arrest you,” Delain says.

Thirty-five men were taken into custody over the course of a 4-day operation, between Monday, July 17, and Thursday, July 20.

The arrests were made in conjunction with the Green Bay Police Department, De Pere Police Department, Ashwaubenon Public Safety Department, Brown County Drug Task Force, Wisconsin Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“About 99.9 percent of the stuff we do is on the internet, whether it be Backpage, Craigslist, or any other escort internet websites that we use,” says Sgt. Matthew Wilson, Brown County Sheriff’s Office.

 

To read the full story on 7 WSAW: Click Here

Sisters’ Collaborative Rack Card Effort Raises Awareness at Tourist Destinations in Wisconsin

by Emily Anderson

 

Five congregations of women religious collaborated to develop a rack card to spread awareness about human trafficking in Wisconsin. 10,000 rack cards were printed and are being distributed to 825+ rack locations at travel stops such as convenience stores, truck plazas, and other tourism destinations across Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

The rack card, which measures 4” x 9” and is printed in color front and back, shares the fact that human trafficking happens everywhere, and asks tourists to help end this crime in Wisconsin by becoming aware, learning more, and reporting suspicious activity as they travel, through two smartphone apps, Redlight Traffic and TraffickCam. It also shares the “red flag” signs of human trafficking in potential victims and shares significant statistics about human trafficking.

The Congregations of women religious who participated include the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother (Oshkosh, Wis.), the Holy Cross Sisters (Merrill, Wis.), the Servants of Mary (Ladysmith, Wis.), the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis (Stevens Point, Wis.) and the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross (Green Bay, Wis.). With 5 Congregations participating, the cost to each was approximately $300 for this initiative.

The rack locations are serviced every other week, and the cards will be replenished by drivers for one year, beginning in June, 2017. If all 10,000 cards are distributed prior to the year-end date, the Congregations will consider printing more rack cards.

Design of the card was done by the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, and printing and distribution were handled through 5 Star Marketing, Tomahawk, Wis.

 

For Trafficking Victims, Leaving Is Never Easy

Anti-trafficking advocates say “normal” becomes “abnormal” for victims of sex trafficking.

OSHKOSH – Oshkosh Police detective Paul Frey paints an ominous picture of the sex trafficking trade in the Fox Valley.

“The pimps are predators. They are literally human sharks,” Frey told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin. “There’s a ton of money to be made in this so they actively recruit young girls and women. Some just get tricked or sucked into that and before they know it, they’re in over their head.”

Often, victims of sex trafficking had been sexually abused, said Lyn Beyer, executive director of Reach Counseling, a Winnebago County agency that provides an array of services for victims of sexual abuse.

Others are runaways who are targeted by traffickers who know what it takes to get them into “the life.”

Since the average age of entry into sex trafficking is 13, victims are deprived basic life experiences, and girls who want to get out of prostitution typically don’t have the necessary job skills, education or family support, counselors say.

“How can we expect them to just make that leap without any help?” Beyer said.

Trauma’s twist on the mind

Those who lack a complete understanding of the world of sex trafficking tend to wonder, Why don’t victims just leave their pimps?

The short answer? Trauma.

“The most significant injuries sex trafficking victims have are often not visible,” said Nancy Irizarry, social services director at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and chair of the Prevention and Public Awareness Workgroup for the Wisconsin Human Trafficking Task Force.

Trauma physically alters the brain, she said, citing a video from the Manasseh Project Trauma Recovery Center in Michigan, which works to end sexual exploitation of children.

The video depicts how trauma affects the brain. Scans of a brain that has experienced trauma show it has been injured. The injury causes short-term memory loss and it can lead to a “fight or flight” response.

Sex trafficking victims are constantly in that state of mind, which makes “normal” feel “abnormal,” said Nicole Tynan, a trafficking survivor who now advocates for sex trafficking victims with Reach Counseling.

To read the full story by Noell Dickmann, on USA TODAY NETWORK: Click Here

Sisters In Wisconsin Coordinate Multi-Year Statewide Anti-Trafficking Advertising Effort

by Emily Anderson

Manitowoc bus ad 2016-2
Manitowoc bus sign

The LCWR Region 9 Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force has coordinated a statewide advertising effort to spread awareness about human trafficking in Wisconsin and promote
the National Human Trafficking Hotline across the state.

The advertising campaign includes bus signage and billboards which display the national human trafficking hotline number. Bus signage advertising and billboards ran in the following markets during 2015 and 2016:

  • 1 bus for 6 months in Green Bay (9/2015 – 2/2016)
  • 1 bus for 1 year in Oshkosh (6/2015 – 5/2016)
  • 10 buses for 4 weeks in the Milwaukee area (late July through August/2015). Ad over-run  occurred for a number of months on some of the buses
  • Interior bus ads in Green Bay and Fond du Lac (Public Service Announcements)
  • Billboard ran across from Lambeau Field in Green Bay for one week before Thanksgiving (11/23/15 – 11/29/15) during which the Packers played the Bears
interior bus signage-2
Interior bus signage

Bus signage during 2016 and 2017:

  • 1 bus for 1 year in Wausau, La Crosse, Superior/Duluth, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Rusk County and Stevens Point;
  • 10 buses for 4 weeks in the Milwaukee area (posted on some buses beginning 6/3/2016; rest scheduled for 8/2016)
  • 3 buses for 4 weeks in the Waukesha area (8/2016)
  • 10 buses for 4 weeks in the Madison area (9/2016)

A billboard is running in Wisconsin Dells during peak tourist season in July and August 2016.

In addition, interior bus signage will be posted on 35 buses in Racine as a public service.

The Polaris Project, which together with the Department of Homeland Security funds the National Anti-Human Trafficking Hotline, reported for Wisconsin a 20% increase in calls/texts to the National Hotline and a 16% increase in human trafficking cases reported during 2015, as compared to 2014. We hope that the LCWR 9 ad campaign contributed to increased recognition and use of the National Hotline number.

(Emily Anderson is the Director of Communications for the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and a member of the USCSAHT Communications Work Group.)

Final billboard Dells-2
Billbord in the Wisconsin Dells

State Leaders Unveil Poster Aimed At Raising Awareness About Human Trafficking

State leaders Thursday unveiled a new poster created as part of a statewide campaign that organizers hope will raise public awareness about human trafficking, generate tips to break up networks and get resources to victims.

“This is a crisis hiding in plain sight,” Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said during a news conference at the Capitol also attended by state lawmakers, law enforcement and other partner agencies and nonprofits.

“This is servitude. This is modern-day slavery, and we can’t tolerate it,” Schimel added.

Creation of the poster, promoting a national human trafficking resource center hotline number, was required by the passage last year of Wisconsin Act 5, legislation aimed at strengthening the state’s response to the buying and selling of men, women and children for sex or labor.

To read the full story by Karen Rivedal at the Wisconsin State Journal: Click Here

Anti-Human Trafficking Educational Toolkits Distributed to Wisconsin Parishes

by Emily Anderson

Toolkit components-2 copy

The LCWR Region 9 Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force has prepared educational toolkits about human trafficking and distributed them to every Catholic parish in Wisconsin.

The goals of the task force are to raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking in Wisconsin and to promote the National Human Trafficking Hotline to encourage people to report tips and encourage victims to call for help.

The LCWR Region 9 Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force consists of Sister and layperson representatives from multiple Congregations including the Racine Dominicans, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross, Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, and also the Wisconsin Catholic Conference. The group is working with all five Wisconsin Diocesan offices and their social justice representatives to promote and encourage usage of the toolkits. Toolkit production and distribution was funded by a grant by one of the participating Congregations.

The toolkits, which were mailed directly to each parish in Wisconsin in February, consist of the following:

  • A cover letter from LCWR-Wisconsin Region 9 President Sister Pat Cormack;
  • A letter of support signed by Wisconsin’s five bishops;
  • A Wisconsin Resources sheet listing anti-human trafficking speakers, advocacy groups, web sites, videos and more;
  • Infographics explaining Wisconsin statistics on labor trafficking and sex trafficking;
  • A Power Point presentation which defines human trafficking, its prevalence in Wisconsin and resources;
  • Business-card sized cards featuring the National Human Trafficking Hotline to be distributed to parishioners;
  • The DVD “Chosen,” a 20-minute documentary created by Shared Hope International;
  • The DVD “What Does Human Trafficking Look Like in Wisconsin,” a presentation by Sister Celine Goessl, SCSC, with a facilitator’s guide; and
  • A flash drive containing all the toolkit components.

Digital copies of the information contained in the toolkit, with the exception of the DVDs, can be downloaded here: http://www.gbfranciscans.org/justice-peace/anti-human-trafficking

The task force will be doing a follow-up survey with all parishes this summer to determine how the toolkits were used. Components of the toolkit are available to be tailored to other state’s statistics. For more information about the toolkit components, please contact Emily Anderson, Communications Director for the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, at eanderson@ssm-uscaribbean.org.

Toolkit-3 copy

Used with permission, Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, June 2016