In an effort to raise awareness and encourage prevention of the growing human trafficking in Milwaukee, Serve launched the “Unlucky Thirteen” campaign on over 60 bus shelters and digital billboards around the city.
To tease the launch, Serve chalked the number 13 on sidewalks across Milwaukee. Then launched a flash mob of over 100 people wearing “13″ t-shirts on Wisconsin Avenue in front of the city’s largest Public Libray.
Then at 10:13 following the flash mob, Serve launched a press conference in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Task Force of Greater Milwaukee (HTTFGM), Milwaukee County, City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Health Department, Clear Channel and Serve to announce that “13″ is the average age a person starts being trafficked for sex in Milwaukee.
To help parents talk to their kids, Serve launched a website, UnluckyThirteen.org, where parents and teens can go to learn more about Human Trafficking, prevent tips and warning signs. A social media campaign was also launched to create advocacy and spread awareness on the Human Trafficking task Force of Greater Milwaukee’s Facebook and Twitter Pages, asking residents to change their Facebook profile pictures to 13 the week of the campaign.
The campaign was launched in conjunction with the first week of summer, because this is the season when kids are outside and unsupervised the most.
According to the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance, there have been 200 identified cases of human trafficking in Wisconsin. In these cases, 75 percent were victims of sex trafficking, and 15 percent were child victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The majority of these child victims are runaway or thrown-away youths who live on the streets and become victims of prostitution engaging in “survival sex” trading sex for food or shelter. Others are abducted and often families or friends are involved.