Presentation on the dangers of human trafficking to be held next month
A presentation will be held Nov. 8 for the community to learn more about the dangers of human trafficking.
Not In Our Town – The Face of Trafficking in Rural Areas will be held at Harvest Church, W7444 Highway 33, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Pfluger as the keynote speaker.
Tracy Scheffler, founded the non-profit 5-Stone, which is bringing the program to Beaver Dam and has been fighting sex trafficking for more than five years.
The fight against human trafficking in Dodge County has taken on a higher profile in the past six months. In late March, Christopher Childs, 45, of Hartford, was indicted with federal charges of human trafficking. He is accused of torturing women and forcing them to engage in prostitution. In the criminal complaint, prosecutors allege he operated out of two Dodge County strip clubs.
Scheffler said she has heard Pfluger’s message in the past and felt it would be a good message for Dodge County. People in rural areas can be naïve about the dangers of human trafficking, she said.
“The goal is to educate adults and youth so they don’t fall prey to traffickers,’ Scheffler said.
Five-Stone has worked with two human trafficking victims in Beaver Dam, she said.
“In rural areas, they tend to present themselves as older boyfriends who are interested in the girl,” Scheffler said. “Sometimes they have spotters looking for vulnerable youth who will strike up a conversation with the girls.”
The human traffickers often focus on girls who look unhappy, Scheffler said.
“They tend to be very good at reading body language,” Scheffler said.
Youth also are targeted through social media.
“It is the No. 1 way traffickers get to their victims now,” Scheffler said. “It’s very scary. They can present as anyone who is any age online.”
Scheffler said there will be an expert panel at the presentation consisting of Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg, Beaver Dam Police Department Detective Heather Johnson, and two survivor/advocates Morgan Meadows and Patricia Propson.
“We’ll introduce the expert panel and they will take answers from the audience,” Scheffler said. “We wanted people who could talk about the legal perspective as well as the mental health perspective who have experienced human trafficking.”
Scheffler said that they are hoping for anyone who cares about youth to attend the presentation. Children 13 and older are welcome to attend. Anyone with any questions can contact Scheffler at firstname.lastname@example.org.