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Human Trafficking: In Our Own Backyard


September 24, 2020

Belleville Area Cares Coalition, along with six other Dane County Coalitions, is offering two virtual presentations on October 7, 2020 (6:30 p.m.-7:45 p.m.), and then on November 11, 2020 (6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.). Ron Heinrich, from SlaveFree Madison, will be our guest speaker on October 7, 2020. Then on November 11, 2020, Theresa Flores, author of Slave Across the Street will be our guest speaker. The virtual link to both of these presentations can be found on the Belleville Area Cares Coalition website at

Human trafficking, which includes exploitation for both labor and sex, is the fastest growing illegal activity worldwide, with estimates in 2014 that 19 million people were being trafficked globally accounting for 150 billion dollars of net profit. Here in Wisconsin, every county has reported sex trafficking, and in Dane County hundreds of individuals are advertised for sale every day. And many of those being sold, maybe the majority, are US citizens under the age of 18 with estimates as high as 300,000 youth being trafficked for sex in this country.

All youth in this state and across the country are at-risk of sexual exploitation. And while some youth have greater vulnerabilities than others, it is important to understand that traffickers are hanging out in the same places as youth; public spaces such as malls, libraries, and bus terminals as well as on-line, looking for any information they can use to their advantage. To protect youth, it is essential that community members understand what trafficking looks like, how it occurs, and what increases one’s vulnerability, and, maybe most important, that youth themselves be provided with similar, age-appropriate, information.

The virtual presentation being held on October 7, 2020, will address human trafficking, particularly of youth, and the ways in which traffickers identify, manipulate, and control those that they exploit. Red flags that are indicative of grooming (the process by which a trafficker gains the trust of someone they plan to exploit) and trafficking will be discussed as well as the importance of educating our youth about this topic. Given the nature of the material being presented at this event, it is suggested that attendees be 15 years of age or older.


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