Sex trafficking, a growing problem in Milwaukee

Sex trafficking, a growing problem in Milwaukee

Think it doesn’t happen in your neighborhood? Think again. Wisconsin is seeing a rise in young people under 18 being exposed to the kinds of evils we would expect never to hear of in our community, namely, sex trafficking. TMJ4 just released a story this week about what’s happening in Milwaukee:

MILWAUKEE — Children, forced to become sex slaves. You wouldn’t think it’s a problem in Milwaukee, but it is. The FBI says it’s one of the biggest issues facing the Milwaukee area.

It isn’t just a prostitution problem, but an exploitation problem. Teenagers are being turned into sex slaves under false financial promises. It happened to Juana’s 15-year-old daughter.

“They were making her work.  They were making her have customers with no control.  She was locked in a room,” said Juana to TODAY’S TMJ4’s Charles Benson. “She was beaten. For sex.” Maria knows her two daughters were living separate lives. She says she knows they were being sold for sex. “She was a part of the human trafficking world,” Maria told Charles. Maria just learned her 18-year-old daughter is back on the streets, but she doesn’t know where she is.

Those parents will tell you human trafficking is very real in Milwaukee.

“It can be very violent,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Teresa Carlson. Carlson tells Charles human trafficking is a big priority for the FBI – and it’s not just a concern in the city.

“They’re looking or people who are vulnerable, the most vulnerable people in our society. That vulnerability can come from a broken family, they’re financially vulnerable, they’re emotionally vulnerable, they’re isolated, they are looking for a safe place.” Carlson says her team has a special squad dedicated to human trafficking.

“The new squad is really designed to deal with child exploitation issues so they deal with child pornography.  Civil rights and human trafficking are a big part of the squad.” In 2012, the FBI launched Operations Cross Country, a sweeping nationwide effort to bust up the child sex trafficking business. In Milwaukee, 58 people were arrested, and seven children were recovered. That’s more than any city in America.”

Read the article and see the video story here.

Sex Trafficking Resources

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) – Where to go if you suspect someone may be involved in human sex trafficking.

Wikipedia – list of organizations committed to ending human trafficking.

Honorable Mention

International Justice Mission

International Rescue Committee

Polaris Project