McFarland RADAR coalition, Cottage Grove Cares and Monona Cares, along with three other Dane County coalitions, are offering a virtual presentation on human trafficking.
Human Trafficking is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, or obtaining of a person for labor or commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. Human trafficking globally generates about $150 billion in profit and is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world.
According to Cathy Kalina, prevention and intervention center alcohol and drug abuse program coordinator and prevention specialist, in the United States there are estimated to be about 200,000 incidents of sex trafficking each year. Human Trafficking has been reported in all 72 counties of Wisconsin. In 2019 alone, there were roughly 50-75 cases reported in Dane County. While these numbers may seem small, these are only the cases reported to local law enforcement agencies and to the National Trafficking Hotline.
Victims of human trafficking are found across all age, gender, social and ethical/racial group. According to Kalina, here are many individuals within our society that believe that someone is trafficked through kidnapping. While this can happen, the most common way a trafficker will woo their victim is through simple romantic gestures. This is called a ‘Romeo pimp’ and this pimp has become more prominent due to social media and dating apps. To protect individuals, especially youth, it is essential that the community understands what trafficking is, how it occurs, and what to do to help combat this crime.
The virtual presentation being held on Nov. 11 and will feature Theresa Flores, a sex trafficking survivor. She will share her story about being trafficked when she was just 15 years old. She will also provide an overview of human trafficking and suggest solutions. Given the nature of the material being presented at this event, it is suggested that attendees be 15 years of age or older.