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14-year-old transported from Milwaukee to Mercer for sex

Mike Simonson

Wisconsin Public Radio

Iron County District Attorney Marty Lipske says that a recent case under his jurisdiction shows that child sex trafficking isn’t just a big city problem.

A Milwaukee woman was found guilty this month of first degree child sex trafficking in the small Iron County town of Mercer. Lipske said 28-year-old Nikia Burchette faces 25 years or more in prison for using and transporting a 14-year-old to Mercer for sex.

Lipske said child sex trafficking is happening everywhere.

“If you have the Internet and Internet availability, you are able to do this,” said Lipske.

A Mercer man paid $1,500 to spend the night with the 14-year-old, but the girl escaped from the hotel room and was taken to safety by a bystander: “Her testimony was they were trying to kill her, dump her body and go after her family also.”

Lipske says the scheme was carried out over a website based in Madison, so Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and the Department of Criminal Investigation got involved.

“The interesting thing is that it can happen just about anywhere,” said Lipske. “These particular websites are just terrible. The potential for harm to young children – vulnerable children – is immense, because the people involved in this kind of business are looking for vulnerable people.”

He said vulnerable people include runaways and drug and alcohol addicts.

Lipske also said the victim is getting the help she needs: “She is a very bright young lady and they’re very dedicated people who are working very hard to make some major changes in her life.”

Sentencing for Burchette is set for March 19 in Hurley.