The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is using its “Law of the Month” to highlight National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month by bringing awareness to Wisconsin residents along with prevention tips.

Today, Jan. 11, is #wearblueday as designated by the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign. The purpose of #wearblueday is to help raise awareness and begin conversations about the realities of human trafficking in our own areas.

WisDOT has signed onto Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking (TLAHT), an initiative set forth by the US Department of Transportation. TLAHT works to unite the travel industry in an effort to combat human trafficking across the country.

“Human trafficking is a hidden crime that needs to come out of the shadows,” WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson said. “Traffickers are using our highway system to transport victims and perpetuate this crime. We are doing everything we can to stop it in Wisconsin.”

What can you do to prevent human trafficking?

The Department of Homeland Security has a list of helpful Indicators of Human Trafficking on its website. Some highlighted signs include:

  • A sudden or dramatic change in behavior
  • Becoming disconnected from family, friends, or community organizations
  • Signs of mental or physical abuse, or deprivation of basic needs
  • Indication of being coached on what to say, or not in control of their own decisions

State Patrol officers are trained to recognize human trafficking with some of these basic indicators. They know the right questions to ask as well as options that can connect victims to social services that are available to them in their time of need.

If you encounter a situation you suspect is human trafficking, do not approach anyone involved. Gather as much information as possible and contact:

  • National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888
  • Text “HELP” or “INFO” to 233733
  • If there is an immediate danger, call 911.

Human trafficking targets vulnerable people, regardless of demographics, so we are committed to doing our part to stop it. When our officers encounter a potential human trafficking situation, they’re trained to use a victim-centered approach. Our goal is to avoid traumatizing a victim any further.

State Patrol Superintendent Anthony Burrell

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