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Vigil held in Kenosha sheds light on sex trafficking in Wisconsin

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KENOSHA -- The Wisconsin Attorney General's Office announced new efforts Friday, January 19th, to fix sex trafficking across the state. This, while communities in southeastern Wisconsin shed light on the extent of the problem.

A vigil was held for survivors and current trafficking victims in Kenosha Friday evening. It is one of three being held in the area in January, which is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. People gathered at Journey Church on 75th Street, to learn more about the warning signs and how to help.

Maggie Graff

"The traffickers start a relationship with a young person, whether it's a boy or a girl, and they look like the older boyfriend. And they will groom them for several months before they will get them involved in human trafficking," said Maggie Graff, with Fight to End Exploitation.

It's part of a growing awareness surrounding the issue that also extends across the state.

Back in fall of 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Justice created the Human Trafficking Bureau to combat these specific kinds of cases. Between September of last year, and January 1st of 2018, the bureau has conducted 23 child and adult sex trafficking investigations, arrested 15 traffickers and six "Johns" and rescued 24 victims.

Now, the Wisconsin Attorney General's Office is also teaming up with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families to better alert the public. It's an important step in what is and will continue to be a long road toward eliminating modern day slavery altogether.

"That's what it's going to take, is this collaborative effort so that we're all on the same page," said Graff.

"I think as the faith community steps up, we're in every day life, we're going to work every day and we're connected to people that we might see something in a restaurant close by or a hotel that we frequent," Pastor Dan Remus.

The Wisconsin Attorney General's Office has also developed a guide that anyone can review if they have concerns someone is being trafficked or exploited. It lists signs to look out for and steps to take to report the situation. To view the guide, CLICK HERE.

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