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25 arrested in human trafficking sting

Marylee Williams

Wisconsin Public Radio

The state Department of Justice helped coordinate the arrest of 25 suspected sex traffickers in July and August. According to the DOJ, those arrested were charged with both human trafficking and soliciting sex with prostitutes, some as young as 14 years old.

On Tuesday, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced the department’s new Human Trafficking Bureau, a seven person team focused on targeting this issue in Wisconsin. The creation of this bureau doubles the amount of agents focused on human trafficking in Wisconsin, Schimel said.

The issue is one Schimel called a “significant problem” in Wisconsin, adding that people willing to pay for sex shock him.

“They’ve created this problem by being willing to pay for it, and we’re coming after them. And that’s, that’s many of the individuals we arrested. Some of them were traffickers but most of them were people who were part of the demand.”

According to a DOJ press release, some parts of the state already have local task forces dedicated to fighting human trafficking. The newly created bureau will work with these task forces to provide training and support victims.

During the sting, five people connected with sex trafficking were arrested in Door County in July alone, District Attorney Colleen Nordin said. She reiterated that these arrests should make people aware that this is a statewide issue, not just a problem that plagues urban centers.

“When you know (sex trafficking) is so widespread that it can target a community such as Door County, I think that highlights the need for specific resources targeted at this problem that exists amongst all demographics, amongst all types of communities.”

In addition to fighting trafficking in the state, the press release states that the bureau will also work with the legislature on policies to better coordinate law enforcement and enhance victim services ultimately helping to dismantle human trafficking operations in Wisconsin.

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