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Wisconsin’s Human Trafficking Task Force PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shelia Stubbs Press   
Thursday, 28 September 2023 10:10

human-traffickingState has no specific unified system for reporting, investigating and collecting data for incidences of human trafficking. Task Force hopes for change.

MADISON, WI- In August 2023, Representative Shelia Stubbs joined Wisconsin’s bipartisan Speaker's Task Force on Human Trafficking. Today, the Task Force held a press conference before their first informational hearing.Rep. Stubbs (D-Madison) released the following statement:

“First, I would like to thank Speaker Robin Vos for creating a bipartisan Speaker’s Task Force on Human Trafficking. I would also like to congratulate Representative Jerry O’Connor for serving as the chair and Representative Jodi Emerson for serving as the Vice Chair of this task force. I would also like to thank and congratulate all of my colleagues who are coming together in this endeavor. Additionally, I would like to thank the organizations and individuals across the state of Wisconsin who advocate for and provide critical services to survivors of human trafficking. Now I would like to take a moment of silence for all of the victims of human trafficking.

shelia-stubbsHuman trafficking is a present form of slavery that is happening in our own back yards. Not only did I join this task force because of the pressing issues of human trafficking for Wisconsin’s children and young adults, I joined this task force because I know firsthand how significant it is to serve on a bipartisan task force. This task force is for the exploited Wisconsinites who are victims of this crime. It is time they are no longer ignored by our society. Now is the time to answer the call more than ever, we are here to bring their voices into our legislation.

Human trafficking is a critical threat to all Americans, but Wisconsin has a unique positionality due to our major interstates making it especially accessible to traffickers. Trafficking is a significant problem in all our communities and along our highways; rural, urban, and suburban. In the year 2021 alone, the National Human Trafficking Hotline identified 95 cases in Wisconsin involving 166 victims; the majority involving sexual exploitation.

Currently, there is no state specific unified system for reporting, investigating and collecting data for incidences of human trafficking in the state of Wisconsin. This means we are lacking the extensive and compelling data needed to accurately and effectively combat this issue.

This lack of concrete statistics for our state is hurting us, and most importantly hurts victims of trafficking the most. Justice has been denied for countless victims in the state of Wisconsin and survivors are starting to lose hope. Social services are losing funding because they cannot provide the hard data on the number of Wisconsinites this issue affects. However, we know the complexity that comes with trafficking, and we most certainly know the need for services exists.

We owe it to the human trafficking survivors of Wisconsin to show that we see them; to collect the data necessary to provide appropriate care, resources and funding for programs supporting these survivors. We owe it to our women, children and families to combat the disproportionate threat human trafficking and gender-based violence pose to their safety. We owe it to every Wisconsinite who values liberty from exploitation and enslavement to come together and collaborate on methods for preventing, tracking, and stopping trafficking situations in our own backyards.

This task force is committed to taking action so that no Wisconsinite will ever again endure the physical, emotional and spiritual suffering that human trafficking inflicts on our neighborhoods and communities. As Madame Vice President Kamala Harris remarked at the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, ‘When we identify who is most vulnerable, we can tailor our tactics and improve our strategy, we can look at what is putting communities at risk in order to improve our prevention efforts, and we can look at ways to reach those communities to ensure that support is trauma-informed and survivor-centered. In this work, our government — while we need business leaders and non-profit leaders, community leaders, we need all of you to partner with us.'"

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