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Wisconsin Attorney General discusses issue of human trafficking in the state

Posted at 5:36 PM, May 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-07 18:36:03-04

A student at Oshkosh North High School is working with the non-profit Damascus Road to teach people about the issue of human trafficking. Education is something Attorney General Josh Kaul says is vital in ending human trafficking in Wisconsin.

"It's an issue that affects communities across the state," says Kaul.

The Wisconsin Attorney General says human trafficking is a significant problem and says they're working to develop better data on the issue to know the exact scale of the problem. He says it's hard to know how Wisconsin compares to other states, but he says the National Human Trafficking Hotline received more than 26,000 calls in 2017.

"Because so much of the enforcement activity historically focused not on the traffickers, but on potential prostitution charges, I don't think there's been as much enforcement against the traffickers as there needs to be,” Kaul explains.

He says it will take continued efforts including both investigators and prosecutors to stop the crime. In addition, he says there should be more resources to help survivors.

"We need to make sure that survivors have a pathway to getting away from trafficking,” Kaul says. “And hopefully ultimately working with law enforcement to bring prosecutions."

Kaul says the department of justice is also working to educate more people on human trafficking.

"That includes educating law enforcement, educating people who again work at locations where there may be trafficking like truck stops or casinos or other locations,” Kaul tells NBC26.

He also says they hope to partner with the Department of Public Instruction to expand education about Internet safety so people, especially teens, are using the internet safely.

"It's important that Wisconsinites be aware of the danger of human trafficking and we want to encourage people who see signs of human trafficking to report that to law enforcement,” says Kaul.

Kaul says, the Department of Justice made budget requests this year for resources and funds to help fight human trafficking.