“Wisconsin Is a Hub of Human Trafficking…”
"And Milwaukee harbors its pimp school!" Government officials and civic leaders announce a marketing campaign to raise awareness of child trafficking.
Political leaders and members of the Human Trafficking Task Force of Greater Milwaukee met on the corner of W. North Ave. and N. 27th St. at press conference Thursday morning announcing a new marketing campaign to raise awareness of child trafficking in Milwaukee. A collaboration with Clear Channel Outdoor and Serve Marketing, this campaign will include signs at 15 bus stops and on 30 billboards around the city, as well as an interactive website. Speakers included County Executive Chris Abele, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin James L. Santelle, Assistant U.S. Attorney Karine Moreno-Taxman, Gary Mueller of Serve Marketing, Tim Marko of Clear Channel Outdoor, and Dana World-Patterson of the Human Trafficking Task Force of Greater Milwaukee.
Dana World-Patterson was the first speaker, who explained that the last week of the school year and the beginning of summer is the time when children are outside the most, and are thus most vulnerable to trafficking. She reported that the average age of victims of trafficking in the U.S. is 15, with 80 percent of the victims being women and girls, the majority children. And the situation seems to be getting worse; she noted reports that the average age of trafficked persons is gradually lowering to 11. “Wisconsin is a hub of human trafficking,” she declared, “and Milwaukee harbors its pimp school.” The purpose of the new marketing campaign, she explained, is to encourage prevention of trafficking in Milwaukee through awareness; quoting the old adage, she added that “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.”
Marko said his company, Clear Channel Outdoor, has been working with government agencies and nonprofits across the country to raise awareness of human trafficking. In Milwaukee, they are designating advertising space on 30 billboards and 15 bus shelters for at least the next month to carry signs designed to raise awareness about human trafficking locally.
Santelle spoke about the U.S. Attorney’s office recent successes in prosecutions of human traffickers in Wisconsin, but declared the need to do more to make sure victims of all backgrounds and races are supported.
Mueller encouraged people in the community to act as “eyes and ears” to prevent human trafficking, and noted that people can use social media to bring awareness to the issue.
Moreno-Taxman applauded the use of bus stops for signage about human trafficking: “When pimps are looking for children that they can traffic, they look at bus stops,” she noted. She stressed need for the community to protect vulnerable children, especially “children with no hope.”
Finally, Dana World-Patterson closed the event with a resonant declaration: “Remember that our children are not for sale and that together we can eradicate human trafficking.”