Fierce Freedom eager about the DOJ's new human trafficking burea - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Fierce Freedom eager about the DOJ's new human trafficking bureau

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Eau Claire (WQOW) -

Human and labor trafficking, when people are sold for prostitution or work slavery, is something the badger state is looking to crack down on by adding a new bureau.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice announced on Thursday they are adding a new human trafficking bureau.

After a statewide assessment, law enforcement in Wisconsin in almost every county reported that human trafficking occurs in their community, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

The Department of Justice realized the numbers of human and labor trafficking are growing, so they decided to collaborate with law enforcement across Wisconsin to identify and target traffickers to decrease the number of human trafficking victims.

News 18 spoke with Fierce Freedom's Director of Public Policy, Jodi Emerson, regarding the announcement and she said she hopes the collaboration efforts will increase education and awareness about human trafficking in the Chippewa Valley region.

Emerson said Eau Claire has seen an increase in human trafficking due to the fact that Eau Claire is a larger city amongst small, rural towns.

"A lot of things are coming in on our highways a lot of business and commerce and tourism, but there are drugs and human trafficking and things like that too. So I think we've done a really good job in this area about raising awareness that it's happening having a lot of businesses involved including the hotels on what to look for," Emerson said.

Emerson said the number of human trafficking victims are hard to follow, because many of the victims don't speak up and bring it to authority's attention.

She hopes the new collaboration with the state will help increase trafficking arrests, so their are fewer victims.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schlemiel said the Department of Justice reorganized to create the new bureau. Therefore, the added bureau will not increase the department's budget. 

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