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Communities rally around human trafficking awareness

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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) – Monday was National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, with communities and organizations across Northeast Wisconsin spreading the word.

A rally in Oshkosh hosted by the non-profit Damascus Road was meant to raise awareness, talk about prevention, and how we as a community can support the cause.

“Sometimes it seems like what can holding a sign really do, but it really, over the years of doing it, it brings volunteers together, it brings the community together, and it actually, I really think, encourages survivors in our community to know that people care about what happened to them,” said Terra Koslowski, Outreach Director for Damascus Road in Oshkosh.

Damascus Road in Oshkosh is dedicated to raising awareness, offers support for victims, with 78 new victim referrals last year.

“I think it’s important to spread awareness, for people to realize that sex trafficking does happen right here in our community, it doesn’t always look like it does in Hollywood, but people need to be aware, of what sex trafficking is, and how local it actually can be,” said Jon Doemel, supporting human trafficking awareness.

Advocates of human trafficking awareness want everyone to know those signs, victims are often manipulated into false promises, and even forced into various forms of exploitation. Kids are especially vulnerable, with traffickers finding them on social media.

According to the International Labor Organization, human trafficking generates more than $150 billion in illegal profits.

The movement is about getting involved, supporting survivors, some of which can be feeling vulnerable during this pandemic.

“So in any community no matter the size, it’s going on, especially now with even more things online, that’s a place that no matter how big a city, people are being recruited and exploited,” said Koslowski.

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