Human Trafficking “Vending Machine” Stunt in Milwaukee…

In an effort to raise awareness and prevent cases of human trafficking in Milwaukee, the Human Trafficking Task Force of Greater Milwaukee (HTTFGM) and Serve Marketing is launched a guerilla campaign that aims to keep children safe, happy and healthy this summer. On Thursday, June 11th, vending machines were placed on high-traffic sidewalks around Milwaukee (corners of 27th Street and North Avenue, 12th Street and Historic Mitchell Street, and Kinnickinnic Avenue and Lincoln Avenue) and appear as though young teenagers are inside. The message? Children should not be for sale. The initiative coincides with the start of summer vacation, a time when children are out of school and parents are working, which puts kids at greater risk of being targeted for sex trafficking.

In lieu of candy bars and soft drinks, the vending machines had distribute cards that direct parents and teens to the website www.UnluckyThirteen.org where they can learn the warning signs and get important tips on how to stay safe. The website was launched last year as part of the “Unlucky 13” campaign which draws its name from research released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) citing that 13 is the average age a person starts being trafficked for sex. Cases of human trafficking have been documented in all 72 counties in Wisconsin, according to former Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen.

The campaign will also come to life over the next month on 15 Milwaukee bus shelters through a partnership with Clear Channel Outdoor. For more information, visit www.UnluckyThirteen.org.

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