Police: 16-year-old from Racine, ‘victim of human trafficking,’ found in Little Chute; 2 men arrested

LITTLE CHUTE — A 16-year-old girl from Racine, reported as a runaway, was found in a home in the Village of Little Chute on Saturday, April 6 — and two men were arrested.

Fox Valley Metro Police said in a news release it is believed the juvenile female was the victim of human trafficking.

Police responded to the home around 3:45 a.m. Saturday. The two men were arrested on charges of physical abuse of a child, human trafficking, interfering with child custody and false imprisonment.

Police said an investigation revealed the 16-year-old girl had been living with the two men since February 2019, and it’s believed she is the victim of human trafficking “for the purposes of labor exploitation.”

Lt. Mark Wery told WLUK the three had been moving around the state since February, and believed they had been in Little Chute for only about a week.

“The runaway had stayed there initially for a place to stay, had contact with these two individuals; however, they weren’t allowing her to leave, were having her work with them at their business that they own and run locally,” Wery said.

Wery said he did not know what kind of work the men had the girl doing, but he said there was no reason to believe it was related to prostitution.

The men were taken to the Outagamie County Jail. As of Monday afternoon, online court records did not list formal charges against them.

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