It’s an issue that doesn’t seem possible in rural Wisconsin but human trafficking is a problem right here in the Chippewa Valley. Now, local non-profits and law enforcement agencies are coming together to address the growing issue. FOX 25-48’s Noelle Anderson has more.
It’s considered the fastest growing crime in the world right now and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
“It is happening in every county in Wisconsin. There is no part of this state that is immune. There’s no part of this country that is immune to human trafficking.”
Jodi Emerson with Fierce Freedom of Eau Claire, says right now large cities, and rural communities are dealing with prostitution and trafficking problems.
“It is a problem here in rural Wisconsin and it might look different that it does in Chicago, but it’s still the same problem.”
That’s why local nonprofits like Fierce Freedom are teaming up with law enforcement agencies to stop it.
“We’ve got some great law enforcement agencies in the area that are really tackling this, and they’re really working hard, but we’d like to lend our expertise and help them learn about some best practices that they can use for interviews and ways that they can tweak it.”
“I think it is a shock for people in the community, but if you have juveniles, and even a hotel in your community, you have human trafficking.”
Deb Brettingen is a sensitive crime investigator with the Chippewa Falls police department.
“We’re seeing young girls that do run away from home at ages 14 and 15 and travel to the cities and end up in a bad situation and end up being human trafficked. We, in the city of Chippewa Falls, have started a program for the high risk juvenile runaways.”
Brettingen was a creator of that program that keeps tabs on those runaways who are in danger of getting involved in human trafficking. Fierce Freedom has also been helping local law enforcement by sharing local data and expertise.
“Some of these agencies have so many things to deal with, but we specialize in anti-human trafficking so we want to lend that expertise to them and help them figure out how they can adjust things to help out those human trafficking victims a little bit better.”
Noelle Anderson, FOX 25-48 News at 9.