Central WI volunteers hope to end human trafficking - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Central WI volunteers hope to end human trafficking

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Wausau (WAOW) -- Around 50 volunteers came together at the Covenant Community Presbyterian Church in Schofield on Saturday to get a special training that they hope will help put an end to a deadly industry. 

Members of the community were trained on identifying the signs of human trafficking from members of the advocacy group Damascus Road. 

"[Human Trafficking] is the second largest criminal enterprise. It surpassed weapons and it's just behind drugs," said Pastor Jim Gates, an organizer of the event. "So many folks are seeing these warning signs but not knowing what to do about them." 

"The community is the eyes and ears of what goes on. I mean, law enforcement can't be everywhere all of the time," said Outreach Director of Damascus Road Terra Koslowski. 

After the presentation, volunteers were invited to approach businesses, mainly gas stations and hotels, to teach them about the warning signs of human trafficking, by presenting a five minute lecture. 

Koslowski said it's vital that these businesses understand how to identify victims and what steps they can take to tackle the problem. 

"These are the areas where victims are being brought to," Koslowski added. 

Volunteer Ron Alexander from the Village of Maine said that the program is well worth it, as he could potentially save someone's life by just devoting a few hours of his time on the weekend. 

"If one or two people are rescued over the next four or five months, it would make all of this effort worthwhile," he said. "Children, girls are trapped into this industry." 

If you or anyone you know is a victim of human trafficking, you are encouraged to reach out to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888, or contact your local law enforcement agency.

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