Human trafficking is a growing crime in Racine County as evidenced by the recent recovery of two teenage girls and the number of suspects rounded up last summer in a multi-jurisdictional operation.

Residents can help law enforcement identify potential trafficking situations just by keeping a good lookout.

The two girls – ages 13 and 16 – are from the Milwaukee area, Racine County Sheriff Chris Schmaling told WTMJ 4 News, and he expects to have additional suspects in custody and victims rescued as investigations continue.

Schmaling and Racine police Officer Neal Lofy said Racine is considered an ideal location for trafficking because of the easy access to I-94 and its location between Chicago and Milwaukee, the story continues. They offered these tips to help spot additional trafficking victims, who are often walking in and out of restaurants and gas stations along the expressway.

  • Listen to conversations for clues the individuals aren’t related like in a parent-child relationship
  • The trafficker may have several cell phones and wear fancier clothing that don’t match the surroundings
  • Traffickers often flash a lot of cash
  • Traffickers can be a man or a woman so keep an open mind

“These are very disgusting individuals in my opinion, worthy of our best efforts. We commit a lot of resources to it,” Schmaling told the news station.

Teenage runaways are the easiest targets so timing is of the essence for recognizing possible trafficking situations, Lofy added.

“We know that a lot of runaways or missing people end up being sex trafficked. Some statistics say that within 48 hours, one of every three runaways will be lured into sex trafficking,” Lofy is quoted as saying.

To notify police about trafficking situations, residents can leave anonymous tips with Crime Stoppers by calling (262) 636-9330 or text RACS plus the message to CRIMES (274637) and referring to Tipsoft I.D.‪#‎TIP417‬ with your text message.

County dispatch operators are also available by calling (262) 886-2300.

 

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