For those in Milwaukee who missed an event called Love Is: Part III, you might just missed a treat about a danger that is plaguing the city. Not the usually politics, or crime against black folks. Not the usual segregation portions or the concerns of unemployment among blacks in Milwaukee. For the last two years, my church home of mine that many of my UMC connections know, has been talking about this event called Love Is. The first year, we talked about the Healthy Relationships, the next year we dug into more of Domestic Violence, which was last year.
Now, this year the series has decided to take a look into a deep conversation in about the issue of Human Trafficking. Human trafficking as many know is one of the major concerns in the cities and states today. Ironically, Milwaukee ranks near the top (actually THE top) of the list currently. It has a mixture of what I have learned in the last two years in regarding the Healthy Relationships and Domestic Violence disputes. And the concerns and connections with Human Trafficking does not always set in the city! It also sets in the suburbs, the small towns, the unknown cities, the not-so-well-known counties or districts. Or regions. That like violence, can happen in anywhere.
Human trafficking – labor and sex trafficking is Modern Day Slavery.
On Saturday, the first half of the event was from the Sojourner Family Peace Center. The Presenter, Debra Fields went though a summary in which sex trafficking, and domestic abuse have some connection in one mold. She commented that Many people whom experience domestic abuse, go through sex trafficking. And the reason being because they don’t know whom to go, what to say or what to comprehend in terms of their current state. And as far as those whom are doing these acts of Trafficking, it not just what we know, but also WHOM we know! Debra also indicated that Human Trafficking in Milwaukee is high. BUT ALSO, it happens in the suburbs like Brookfield. So to those who think Milwaukee is all evil and the burbs are all good with this subject, it’s not always the case! And like any other assistance, there’s always help to be reached.
She also highlighted these statistics:
44% US Citizens – Legal Permanent residents
Be careful of who we see, who see profile.
Also, there were some myths and fact in concerning Human Trafficking:
- Myth: Sex trafficking and prostitution are the same thing.
- Fact: Sex trafficking includes prostitution is not necessary sex trafficking
- Myth: Human smuggling and human trafficking are the same thing
- Fact: The smuggled person pays for illegal border crossing and once across the border is free to go.
- Myth: Traffickers are kidnappers and are unknown to the victims.
- Fact: Traffickers generally do not snatch or kidnap victims
So far, I did start to understand the stand alone portion of Human Trafficking and why it was. But then later on in the discussion, there was a twist. From one of the previous Love Is events, I do remember that Power and Control effected the concerns of Domestic Violence. But with mixture of Power and Control in general can be part of a concern that harbors in the example of Human Trafficking.
Sex Trafficking Power and Control Wheel
Emotional Abuse: It’s getting caught up.
Isolation: not just physical, no reason to reach out.
Denying, Blaming, Minimizing: “Your fault” or , “I did this!”
Sexual Abuse: many connections, even marriage.
Coercion and Threats
Mandatory Arrest – somebody will be arrested. Mostly the aggressor (male or female)
Understand rights, healthy relationships
Like any other warning signs, even Sex Trafficking has warning that many NEED to pay attention to. Here are some examples and what to do in case in encountering someone who is a human trafficking victim:
Warning signs of Sex Trafficking
- Does not have control over her wages
- Has no choice about hours worked or what conditions
- Signs of physical abuse or injury
- Being fearful or under the control of another person
- Sexual service in a strip club, massage palor, brothel or other location
- Has a manager/Pimp
- Not allowed to socialize
What can you do……communicating with Human Trafficking Victims
- Ask what they need
- Are they safe
- Have they eaten
- Do they need medical attention
- Is there anyone they are afraid now
- Tell them it is not their fault
- Show understanding, patience and respect for the victim’s dignity. Rebuilding Self-Esteem.
- Express sympathy to the victim and an interest in the victim in the victim’s wellbeing.
- If you must report, explain the reasons to the victim.
Also there were extra tips that Debra presented to us. According to her, approximately 47% of the adults whom report the acts of Human Trafficking do indeed call 911. She also indicated that Trafficking is a much bigger issue. And it’s Constantly moving around. Other tips were that no matter what happens, there’s always hope regardless the situation.
We all think or believe that most of what we summarize, always gets reported. But from part of the lessons from her, Everything is under reported. YES EVERYTHING we see, do, view, or comment goes under reported!
She also asked, Where is our strength? Is it the police, the neighborhood watch groups, friends, family, church, etc?
And the last thing she told us was that We have to be willing participant. In other words, we need to in the fore front of what is going on! Now If you have many folks who are behind the cause in all, and they get engaged in all with the example at hand, and they don’t FULLY participate, then what is the deal? That would be like OH, my so and so got shot in all, we gotta march! But the thing is about those who complain and moan, ask this question: WHERE WERE YOU?!!!! And they might say, well, I was doing my hair, talking to my girl……..They are not engaged. Until they become the next VICTIM, they might be coming back in a different state!
The second day of the event was featured with a well known guest speaker and Assistant Pastor in Milwaukee. The featured keynote speaker was Dana World-Patterson. She is the founder/CEO of the Foundation For Freedom along with her ministry. She also holds degrees in Speech Pathology and Educational Leadership via Jackson State University and UW-Oshkosh. For the High School side of things, Dana is a 1980 Alum of my old High School of John Marshall. In her sermon lesson in which she went deep, she asked us the question: “Is there anything too hard for God?” That seemed to be a good question. Later on in her message she highlighted her experiences and stories of Human Trafficking. From her time in which she visited the East Coast about visiting an individual she talked to. She asked how was she doing and so forth. The next year she visited the same area, she mentioned that the same individual again, and asked her name. Then the mood had changed in which after the name was asked, there was another side of the person that was not there. In sense of acceptance that the person Dana encountered whom was living on the street, doing the same routine, was beginning to reach out. “Just ask me the right questions.” as was indicated. She also mentioned in her message in which so far, “There have been goods, and there have been setbacks.”
Also, Dana had mentioned the fortitude that “Eradicating Human Trafficking is a right.” It should be a right to eliminate this epidemic as well as any other epidemic that continues to plague Milwaukee. Like I said, Milwaukee’s Human Trafficking is at an all time high. We read about it, see it, or for many, experience it. Another scenario that Dana pointed out for an example was in a Dollar Store, in which she saw a woman having her head down. Plus other women in the same line all having their heads down. While getting the items in all. YES this happens a lot depending on the location or examples given! She also said that “If you look up, you’re choosing up.” Always having a positive mindset not having your head down alot.
In her closing remarks, Dana left us with these words to live by while encountering those whom are Human Trafficking effected: First she says we need to Use Wisdom. A good judgement. Second, she also said that if you see something, say something and do something. The days of “stranger danger” have shifted and changed. It’s not just Women kidnapping Girls, but also BOYS can be Kidnapped by Men. Speaking of that, Dana has challenged Men also to get involved with this fight. The way that world is now, any boy can be lured away as much as girls can. Now usually Girls had to be watched close and Boys just go off. She also reminded us that God loves the Prostitute. And God loves “the John” too. Like many, we all have story to share and comment in which additionally, she commented that whenever we see or hear about our family members who are part of the LGBTI Community and are struggling with the lifestyle change, she said “Keep them close!” No matter the change in their interest.
Overall, this Love Is event/Workshop and service was great. But the lessons learned here about Human Trafficking must NOT be undermined. In speaking of Healthy Relationships mixed in with other factors, the lesson here is to keep your eyes open! That goes for everybody. Even if you’re the Church, keep your eyes open! Even if you have young children or teens, in which we grown folks must be teaching more often, keep your eyes open! Men, we know our latter of the concern about stuff like this doesn’t effect us, BUT when if our Sons, or Nephews, or Male cousins, or boy’s choir member or male student, gets to be a victim of human trafficking, KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN! Even if you know children of parents who play around in a certain yard that is deemed dangerous or conquerable, still KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN!
Just a side note: Here are two numbers national and local (for Milwaukee residents)
National Human Trafficking Resource Center 1-888-373-7888
Local – Sojourner Family Peace Center Hotline 414-933-2722