Eau Claire (WQOW)- Modern day slavery takes hold of an estimated 300,000 children in the United States every year, their average age just 12 years old. That's according to Fierce Freedom, a local non-profit devoted to fighting human trafficking here in the Midwest.
On Tuesday, the Eau Claire City Council made a proclamation declaring January Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Organizers said it's an effort cities all across the nation participate in. They said while it can be easy to see human trafficking happening across the world, it's not as easy to see it across town.
Fierce Freedom said awareness is just the beginning, education is another big priority. Staff said once you teach people what trafficking is and how to spot it, you can start preventing it, and preventing more people from becoming victims.
"We know in the future there will need to be safe houses, there will need to be more work with the county, we know all of that is absolutely true. Our piece is education and we really hope we can save a good amount of people from having to go through the rescue, and those other pieces down the road," said Fierce Freedom Co-founder, Jenny Almquist.
On Wednesday, Fierce Freedom is holding an event in Eau Claire called 'Keeping Kids Safe in a Digital Age.' It's a chance for parents to learn tips on how to effectively and comfortably talk with kids about social media and internet use. It's the first of several events going on throughout the Chippewa Valley during the month.
Here's a full list of the awareness month events:
The non-profit often talks about how big events can cause human trafficking hot spots. With the Super Bowl just across state lines this year, News 18 asked how staff are preparing. They said it's really an effort made all year long with the Be Aware Campaign, which trains hotel staff to recognize the signs.