January is recognized as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Human trafficking is when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against their will (National Human Trafficking Hotline). The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally. These people are men, women, adults and children.

Sex Trafficking

Sex trafficking violates basic human rights such as rights to bodily integrity, equality, health, security, dignity and freedom from violence and torture. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) considers sex trafficking to be a human rights violation.

Traffickers maintain control of their victims through violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage and manipulation. 54% of the 20.9 million human trafficking victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation, and women and girls make up 96% of those victims (Equality Now). The common age for a child to be put into sex trafficking is 14-16.

Sex trafficking happens here. The United States is a source, transit and destination country for sex trafficking victims. Often times it is seen as a foreign issue, but it happens to Americans as well.

Ending human trafficking

  • Report suspicions to law enforcement
  • Be a conscious consumer, find out who picked the produce you are purchasing from your grocery store, check out who made the shirt you just purchased. Don’t purchase products made from forced labor
  • Donate to anti-trafficking organizations
  • Call your local politicians to create legislation against human trafficking
  • Stay informed

Get involved on campus to prevent GBV:

To get involved in the RE Initiative, find out more about becoming a peer advocate, or a peer educator, call the WSU 24/7 Confidential GBV Helpline at 507.457.5610 or email the Gender-Based Violence Prevention & Intervention Coordinator at hgerdes@winona.edu or website www.winona.edu/RE

Confidential Resources for Survivors:

  • WSU 24/7 Gender-Based Violence Helpline 507.457.5610
  • WSU Health, Counseling, & Wellness Services 507.457.5160
  • WRC of Winona Crisis Line 507.452.4453

Reporting Resources for Survivors:

  • National Human Trafficking Hotline 1.888.373.7888
  • Heather Gerdes- GBV Prevention & Intervention Coordinator 507.457.2225
  • Lori Mikl- Title IX Coordinator 507.457.5008
  • WSU Security 507.457.5555
  • In an Emergency, call 911
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Michaela Gaffke

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