(Beaver Dam) January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. National and local organizations are encouraging residents to continue the fight against this issue by raising awareness and reporting tips to the Human Trafficking Hotline.
Tracy Scheffler is the founder of 5-Stones Dodge County, which is an all-volunteer organization that works to educate youth and adults about the dangers of sex trafficking. Scheffler says victims of human trafficking can be unaware of their situation.
“I’ve heard that literally from trafficking survivors is ‘I didn’t even realize what has happening to me…I didn’t know I could put a name on it or a term on it until I read something on the back of a bathroom stall or saw something on television and realized oh-my-gosh I’m being trafficked,” says Scheffler.
Scheffler says there are many signs of human trafficking. They include unstable living condition; submissive, tense, and paranoid behavior; deferring to another person before giving information; branding or tattoos; inappropriate clothing; and multiple phones.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates trafficking to be a $150-billion-a-year global enterprise and is the world’s fastest growing criminal activity. It is believed that 25 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking.
To call the Dodge County Adult Protective Services unit dial 920-386-3580. For Child and Adolescent Services call 920-386-3750.
The Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.