MILWAUKEE -- A life forced into sex and labor; human trafficking is a growing crisis involving children in Wisconsin. A local organization is helping put an end to the $32 billion a year global industry.
"I always wanted to tell somebody, but I didn't know how," said Denise Harris, survivor.
Stories of survivors are shared on a panel, hoping to raise awareness and be an outlet for other victims.
Telling her harrowing tale, Denise Harris empathizes with the countless youth involved in human trafficking.
"Convinced me to go to his house. The first day I went to his house I had to perform sex, not just with one, with about six different people. He kept me in the bathroom, that's where I was supposed to stay," said Harris.
Forced to make money and abused physically and mentally, Harris eventually managed to escape.
"I changed my life for the better, I work with women with human trafficking. I just try to give them hope because I didn't have it. I try to give back to let them know to be aware," said Harris.
Harris and others spoke at The Epidemic and The Game -- a statewide community awareness event addressing human trafficking.
"Human trafficking exists in all 72 counties in Wisconsin, in some form or another, people are largely unaware because it's so subtle," said Debbie Lassitier, Convergence Resource Center.
Host of the event, Debbie Lassitier, hopes the conversation leads to action.
"We are bringing survivors to them, we are bringing doctors to talk about the psychological aspect. We are bringing men to them to address the demand for wanting the commercial sex trade, and we are talking about the labor trade so they know there are more than one kind of trafficking and giving them lots of tools and time to discuss what can I do in my neighborhood to make sure we address this," said Lassitier.
For those of you involved in human trafficking or know someone who is, there is a way out. The Convergence Resource Center is there for any of your needs. They are trying to put an end to this epidemic one person at a time.
If you'd like to support the Convergence Resource Center, CLICK HERE.