Presentation on human trafficking in central Wisconsin draws lar - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Presentation on human trafficking in central Wisconsin draws large crowd

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -

Representatives from the Wausau Police Department and The Women's Community gathered Monday evening to tackle the topic of human trafficking.

A packed room of more than 100 community members attended a presentation on the issue at North Central Technical College.
    
Every county in Wisconsin has had at least one human trafficking case. That includes instances of labor trafficking, sex trafficking and smuggling.
    
Officials reported they originally perceived the problem as cases of prostitution or escort services. Around 2013, however, the Wausau Police Department realized those were cases of trafficking.

Since then the department has determined that prostitution and human trafficking go hand in hand. The objective is to fight the problem through continued police investigations and by spreading the signs of trafficking to community members.

"It's here in Wausau, it's here in central Wisconsin and there's a lot of myths and truths behind it," said Wausau Police Officer Sarah D'Acquisto. "And a lot of people are still under the misconception of what it looks like or what victims look like or what pimps look like, and I really wanted to de-bunk a lot of those myths."

D'Acquisto has been involved in numerous investigations and has given dozens of presentation on the problem. In Monday's presentation she said that pimps can be men or women of any race/ethnicity and that victims are often female but can also be male.

Traffickers are believed to use the major highways to travel across the state, setting up appointments at cities and towns along the way.

The average age of entry into trafficking is just thirteen to fourteen years old. Often those children or teens that are exploited have a history of child sexual abuse. Wausau PD and The Women's Community urge parents to provide loving homes to children and to maintain a close eye on social media accounts.

Possible red flags for exploited persons include: has multiple phones, has few personal belongings, or has no money or ID. More information can be found here.

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