By Lonnya Reasby

Sex trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. It has been around for a long time. Humans have been subject to various forms of physical and sexual slavery.

It is a total of 13,392 people trafficked a year; 36 trafficked every day; an average of one person trafficked an hour. 49% of the trafficking victims are women, and 33% are children.

A history of physical and sexual abuse is often common among victims. This has to be the craziest thing ever right? But it happens and it has always been around. You think it was bad back then but today, it is worse and more and more traffickers are out here waiting to claim their next victim.

Sex trafficking exists throughout the United States and globally. Under U.S. federal law, any minor under the age of 18 years induced into commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking.

When you hear human trafficking and sex trafficking, what comes to mind when you hear those terms?

Human trafficking is the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. So traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to get what they want.

Sex trafficking is one of the most common types of commercial sexual exploitation. People tend to mix human trafficking with prostitution. Human trafficking is different from prostitution because they are forced into the sex trade likewise prostitution they do it on their own will. No child or adult should have to go through this. It’s sad to say it happens everyday. Milwaukee has become “the Harvard of pimp school” and Wisconsin is a hub of human trafficking.

In 2015, Milwaukee tied with Las Vegas for the third highest number of young people rescued from commercial sexual exploitation dens. It has been documented in all 72 countries in Wisconsin but 79% of human trafficking cases reported in Wisconsin occur in the city of Milwaukee. An alarming 92% of females in Milwaukee are trafficked at the average age of 13 and 78% are African American. Engaging a minor in a sexual act for money is considered trafficking under Wisconsin and federal law because minors are not legally able to give consent. A person induced to perform such act who is younger than 18 is a victim of child sex trafficking.

The number of traffickers and trafficked people are increasingly growing here in Milwaukee. People come here specifically to lure young youth into trafficking. Your home town Milwaukee is the hot spot. It’s all around you. But do you notice anything? Do you think every situation is just some old regular situation? Do you ever think about that person is being trafficked? Do you even know about the signs of human trafficking? You must become aware of this ongoing problem because your child could be the next victim in Milwaukee.

Many cases of sex trafficking start on the internet. It seems harmless at first. Social media is designed to connect people, but it also makes it easier for predators to connect with their next victim. Young people tend to turn to the internet to find the attention they are looking for.

Once limited to luring victims in the street, traffickers can now message thousands of people through Instagram, Facebook, Kik, Tagged, Twitter, WhatsApp and Snapchat some more of the latest tools. Human traffickers have access to over a billion people on social networks. Traffickers will monitor posts and pick their target based on the victims weakness. They look for vulnerable victims, particularly runways, or children experiencing trouble at home. That gives the traffickers a chance to get a hold of them easy because they are in need and they can provide them with what they may not be getting elsewhere. They get in their heads promising them things to meet their emotional and physical needs.

Some traffickers well tell them to chat on a lesser know site. Social media has turned into a happy hunting ground for sex traffickers. Everyday there are new apps and new ways predators can get to young people. Social media has given human traffickers a new platform to recruit and lure victims. Watch what you put on Facebook because someone is always watching. Just one wrong post and you can become a target for traffickers. Don’t think it can’t happen to you or someone one you know.

What You Can Do To Protect Your Children From Being Trafficked

Monitor what your kids are doing on social media and who is responding to their post. Monitor where your kids are going and who their meeting. Watch out for new clothes or things they are receiving that you did not buy or behavior changes. Have conversations with your children so they understand the signs.

It’s better for them to know now than when it’s too late. There are always signs. Parents stay involved in your children’s lives. Give them the attention they need or someone like a trafficker will. Be aware of this big issue of sex trafficking in your community because it’s happening right in your backyard.

Please keep your child safe and alert.

I’m Just Saying!