UWGB conference focuses on human trafficking

Human trafficking
Published: Jan. 15, 2023 at 4:51 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A pediatric emergency physician outlined case-based human trafficking examples during a virtual conference Thursday.

“She is poorly clothed. She has bruises around her face and chest with a tattoo of a male name across her chest and is not willing to say what happened...” Dr. Allie Hurst said.

But the examples are a reality for too many people.

“We had over 11,000 trafficking cases identified... and that doesn’t include the cases not identified... in 2019,” Dr. Hurst explained.

Some of those cases are close to home... right in Northeast Wisconsin.

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay held a zoom call to share perspectives on human trafficking from health, crime and legal experts, including an Appleton Police Department member.

“In one of my cases I actually had a 12-year-old from Milwaukee shipped up to Appleton for prostitution purposes,” Lt. Adam Nagel said.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline’s website reports 95 cases identified in our state in 2021.

“This is happening locally. that’s again why we’re talking about this. This does happen in our population, in our areas, right under our nose sometimes,” Dr. Hurst said.

Right under our nose... even on cell phones and laptops. Traffickers found more than half of their victims online since 2000, according to the Human Trafficking Institute’s 2021 Human Trafficking Report.

“Social media actually has had a huge factor in this based on the fact that kids are messaging people they don’t know videos and photos... illicit videos and photos,” Dr. Hurst continued.

Lt. Nagel said, “I think most people when they think of a commercial sex act... they think of prostitution. We are seeing more cases of child pornography being created by traffickers.”

If you think someone may be a human trafficking victim, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888 or text a message to 233733 “BeFree”.

“Everyone has to link together and we all need to work together to make this better for children and people that are subjected to some of the trauma they experience through trafficking,” Dr. Hurt said.

You can also call your local law enforcement.