SAFE HARBOR FOR TRAFFICKED YOUTH
Seven Days of Service - Legislative Advocacy
The trafficking of children is happening in urban areas, rural areas, and has been reported in all 72 Wisconsin Counties. Currently, children who are trafficked, forced into commercial sex practices, can be prosecuted for the crime of prostitution, causing victimization and burdening a child with a criminal record. In our state, Assembly Bill 41 [AB 41] has been introduced, passed out favorably in the Assembly Committee, but has not been brought to the Assembly floor for a vote.
Titled the Safe Harbor for Trafficked Youth legislation, this bill would move our state further in protecting sexually exploited children by treating them as victims, rather than criminals. AB 41 prohibits charging a minor with the crime of prostitution. This bill would bring Wisconsin’s criminal laws in line with federal and neighboring state’s laws.
Each year, Wisconsin does more to protect sexually exploited youth. AB 41 is the next step we can take right now to further aid child-victims in a more caring and rehabilitative recovery of their dignity.
To pass AB 41 Speaker Robin Vos will need to place AB 41 on the Oct 8 Floor agenda so that it can come to the floor for a vote.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Please contact your State Assembly Representative. Tell them you are in favor of AB 41 and would like it on the Oct 8 calendar so that it will come to the floor for a vote. Call or email Speaker Vos. Tell him you want AB 41 on the Oct 8 calendar so that it can come to the floor for a vote.
Human Sex Trafficking Interview with Archbishop Listecki
Helping women out of human sex trafficking through the Franciscan spirit and the assistance of parish support programs is explored today. Two individuals dedicated to helping women begin their recovery from prostitution and drug addiction, share their work with us. Deacon Steve Przedpelski (Executive Director of the Franciscan Peacemakers) and Deb Schneider (Coordinator of the Faith Coalition Against Sex Trafficking) join Archbishop Listecki. Listen here.
WCC Supports Child Welfare Bills
Please contact your legislators in support of these three bills.
Senate Bill 49 (Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills) and companion Assembly Bill 41 (Rep. Jill Billings, D-La Crosse) prohibit prosecuting a child under the age of 18 for committing an act of prostitution. The Assembly Committee on Children and Families voted unanimously to advance the AB 41.
Senate Bill 61 (Sen. Darling) and companion Assembly Bill 52 (Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton) permit unaccompanied 17-year-olds to seek admission to a shelter facility or transitional living program. An amended SB 61 received a public hearing. The AssemblyCommittee on Children and Families voted unanimously to advance an amended version of AB 52 and the Assembly passed this amended version, which now awaits action in the Senate.
Senate Bill 25 (Sen. LaTonya Johnson, D-Milwaukee) and companion Assembly Bill 22(Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac) require that commercial motor vehicle driver education provide instruction in the recognition and prevention of human trafficking. The Assembly passed the bill, which now awaits action in the Senate.
Kids, the Internet and Trafficking
Traffickers are using the Internet to target unsuspecting and vulnerable youth for their own personal financial gain. According to the F.B.I., sex trafficking is the 2nd fastest growing criminal industry -- just behind drug trafficking. It is an easy, low risk and profitable industry because of huge consumer demand.
Much like the grooming tactics employed by sexual predators, sex traffickers lure their target into an online relationship, with the ultimate goal of meeting in person. Learn the warning signs. As parents we need to know and monitor what’s on our kid’s phones and computers. Know the warning signs.
Your child may be in contact with an online predator if he or she:
Becomes secretive about online activities
Becomes obsessive about being online
Gets angry when he or she can’t get online
Receives phone calls from people you do not know or makes calls to numbers that you do not recognize
Receives gifts, mail, or packages from someone you do not know
Withdraws from family and friends
Changes screens or turns off computer when an adult enters a room
Begins downloading pornography online
Organization Highlight: Franciscan Peacemakers
Franciscan Peacemakers Street Ministry started as the dream of two Franciscan Capuchin priests in 1995, Fr. Robert Wheelock and Fr. Michael Sullivan, who in the words of St. Francis were called” to start doing what was necessary” to address escalating violence against women in the city of Milwaukee. Today Franciscan Peacemakers provides a pathway to a sustainable healthy, safe, productive life for women in prostitution due to trauma, sex trafficking, or drug addiction.
For the past 22 years the ministry has continued to evolve under the leadership of Deacon Steve Przedpelski. In January 2013, Gifts for the Journey a social enterprise providing employment and skills training for women in recovery was introduced. In January 2014 Clare Community a resident-based 2-year trauma care facility for women seeking a way out sex trafficking and prostitution was opened. Led by the Holy Spirit, Franciscan Peacemakers continues to grow in service and faith to do what’s necessary for women in need.
If you have been following our articles or listening to the news, you are aware that the greater Milwaukee area is notorious for its levels of sex trafficking. Milwaukee has consistently been ranked by the FBI in the top 5 cities for trafficking during its annual Operation Cross Country sting operation.
WHAT YOU CAN DO. Invite Deacon Steve Przedpelski of Franciscan Peacemakers to speak at your church. Invite the women of Clare Community to sell their products at your next event or following a presentation, mass or service. Contact Deacon Steve Przedpelski at email@example.com
Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) lunches Human Trafficking Campaign Focused on Youth
In 2017, over 7,000 sex trafficking cases were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, including cases here in Wisconsin. Right now, Wisconsin residents are being trafficked in our cities, our suburbs, our rural towns, and our Tribal communities and in most cases, it's happening right in front of us. If we are going to put an end to this terrible form of child abuse, it's time to start talking about it!
In an effort to shed light on the issue of trafficking in Wisconsin, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) has recently launched the WI, We Need to Talk public awareness campaign aimed at informing Wisconsin citizens about youth sex trafficking.
Create awareness in your community by distributing and hanging posters in public places. Posters are available for printing from the https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/wisconsintalks website
Red Sand, Summer and Trafficking – A Time to Create Awareness
There is not a better time than summer to tweak curiosity at farmers markets, festivals, street dances, and more with red sand in the sidewalk. What’s that? Red Sand Project is a participatory artwork that uses sidewalk interventions, earthwork installations, and convenings to create opportunities for people to question, to connect and to take action against vulnerabilities that can lead to sex trafficking and exploitation. The action is simple. Order a free toolkit from the Red Sand Project. Find any street or sidewalk crack. Fill the sidewalk crack with the colorful red sand. Handout trafficking hot line cards, create discussion and awareness, then take a picture and post to social media. Find out more about the Red Sand Project. Need hotline cards, resources and information?
Tricked: Inside the World of Teen Sex Trafficking
"Tricked" is a series of videos published by Fairfax County Public Schools to help viewers and students understand and spot the scouting and manipulating techniques that are commonly used by traffickers. Using testimony from survivors of sex trafficking, as well as insider information from a former trafficker, they talk about how to avoid susceptible behaviors. They also provide insights on how to get help if students or their friends get trapped in this terrible situation. Knowledge is one of the most powerful tools in the fight against this global issue. Help your community be more aware. If you see something, or suspect something call the National Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888. Watch the video here.
Want to learn more about the Faith Coalition Against Sex Trafficking? Contact Debra Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wisconsin Human Trafficking Legislation - Safe Harbor Act
AB 186/SB 344 is commonly known as the Safe Harbor bill, which would not allow children under the age of 18 to be charged with prostitution. Please contact your state representative [AB186] and state senator [SB344]. Tell them you want legislation passed now. Let's show our elected officials that we want to keep the children of Wisconsin safe and make sure that victims of a crime are treated as victims, not criminals. To find out who your Assembly-person is please visit http://legis.wisconsin.gov/
Human Trafficking Resources
Be Aware! Human Sex Trafficking Hotline
A recent survey showed that only 4% of Americans are aware of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline 1888-373-7888. Deacon Steve, Executive Director to Franciscan Peacemakers, recently wondered what a difference it would make if 40% of Americans knew the hotline and what human sex trafficking real is? Down load this flyer to create awareness among your congregation, community, friends and family.
Holy Cross Sisters Resources
Facilitators Guide: What Does Trafficking Look Like
Human Trafficking in Your Community
Sex Trafficking Infographic
Labor Trafficking Infographic
HT Information Cards
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Wisconsin Department of Justice
Parish Book Discussion - In Our Backyard by Nita Belles
Committee Members Only - The Slave Across the Street [Frank difficult to read book written by a victim]
Organizations, Films and Other Resources
"Chosen" and other films and books at Shared Hope International
Human Trafficking Survivors Share 5 Ways To Help End Practice
1: Ensure Law Enforcement Is Trained In Anti-Trafficking
2. Create Public Awareness Campaigns That Reflect Diversity Of Trafficking Victims
3. Provide Support Services To All Types Of Trafficking Survivors
4. Increase Funding To Investigate More Industries For Labor Trafficking
5. Help Survivors Get On Track For Success In Work And Life
Our "Number 6" - End Demand for Sex Trafficked Victims.
Local Human Sex Trafficking is a horrific crime against human dignity that is happening right here in our city and suburbs. Its also an a-political justice issue that we can all do something about individually and in our parishes. Contact Debra at email@example.com to learn what you and your parish can do.
Addressing the Depravity of Human Trafficking in Our Community
From Debra Schneider - Catholics for Peace and Justice
When a group of us at St. James, Men Falls, starting researching human trafficking 2 years ago, we were overwhelmed by the shear breadth of this global issue. In fact, a few of the stories we researched were so disturbing some us could not bring ourselves to finish the reading. It quickly became clear why Pope Francis has raised a high level of awareness calling “human trafficking, which includes forced labor and prostitution, organ trafficking and any relationship that fails to respect the fundamental conviction that all people are created equal and have the same freedom and dignity, a crime against humanity.”
What have we learned through our research?
After drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the 2nd largest criminal industry in the world.
Human trafficking is a $9.8 billion industry in the United States
100,000 children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation in the United States
The average age of a sex trafficking victim is between 12 and 14 years old
In the U. S. Milwaukee is 3rd in human sex trafficking, behind Detroit and Denver.
In general, men, drive the sex trafficking industry through demand.
The good news is that awareness of this issue is increasing in Wisconsin and in our area. Franciscan Peacemakers has developed Clare Community as a safe place for adult women coming from the street to integrate back into the community. Exploit No More is working on acquiring a safe house for minors.
What you can do.
Begin with education. All parishes in the Milwaukee Archdiocese received an Anti-Human Trafficking Parish Toolkit from the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross. Ask your parish staff for the Toolkit or visit this link to find the online version. Attend one of many Anti-Human Trafficking presentations or film screening to make connections with others working on this important issue.
Create awareness in your parish. Visit the CPJ website for more information.
Human Trafficking – 2015 Papal World Day of Peace Message
Human trafficking destroys the lives of millions of children, women and men each year, making it a real threat to peace, the Vatican said as it announced Pope Francis' 2015 World Peace Day message would focus on the phenomenon. "Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters" will be the theme for the Jan. 1, 2015, commemoration and for the message Pope Francis will write for the occasion,according to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.