By Kent Berkley
Shelby Mitchell, Sex Trafficking Victim Advocate for Door County, is working to dispel myths and increase community understanding during Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Shelby says that thanks to increased media attention and educational campaigns the public is starting to become better informed about the prevalence of, and harm caused by sex trafficking. She says that sex trafficking occurs when an individual is put into a sexual situation as a result of force, fraud or coercion. She says that underage youth cannot legally consent and coercion is presumed. Shelby says that young people who are in dysfunctional homes or have run away are particularly at risk.
Shelby says that sex trafficking has been reported in all of Wisconsin’s counties. She says sex trafficked individuals can be of any gender or sexual orientation. Victims often blend into general society and are more likely to be the person next to us in the grocery line than the person who is kidnapped, drugged and handcuffed as depicted in the “Taken” movies. For information about how to participate in fundraisers for the Sexual Assault Center during January visit http://www.familyservicesnew.org/sac/.