Two public presentations focused on human trafficking remain on the January schedule for Fierce Freedom, as part of its activities during what is recognized nationally as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
The first of the group’s programs this month took place on Jan. 10 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Eau Claire. Jodi Emerson, Fierce Freedom’s Director of Public Policy and Community Relations, is the scheduled speaker at all five of the public programs.
The opening presentation, entitled “Keeping Kids Safe in a Digital Age,” will be repeated at 6 p.m. on Jan. 31 at Peace Lutheran Church, 13083 Main St., Pigeon Falls. The other remaining presentation is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 at the L. E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, 400 Eau Claire St.
Fierce Freedom is a non-profit organization based in Eau Claire that works to fight human trafficking in the Midwest by raising awareness and educating the public. It planned the presentations and several other January events to help local residents understand what human trafficking is, how is happens and that it is happening in the Chippewa Valley and throughout Wisconsin.
Two events scheduled for Jan. 11 were cancelled because of weather conditions and are being rescheduled. The open house at Fierce Freedom’s Altoona office at 2519 N. Hillcrest Parkway (Suite 100) took place this past Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m.
Emerson’s talk on “Human Trafficking in Wisconsin,” originally set for Bethel Lutheran Church in Hudson on Jan. 11, will be rescheduled sometime later this year,
Emerson will talk on “ “Child Abuse and Human Trafficking: Understanding Act 367” in Eau Claire on Jan. 30. Act 367 broadened protections for children against potential sexual abusers by defining prostitution of a child as child abuse, a change that took effect in 2017.
Human trafficking, the fastest growing crime in the world, affects almost 46 million people worldwide, according to a Fierce Freedom press release. It is a modern form of slavery and includes the illegal smuggling and trading of people for purposes of forced labor, sexual slavery or commercial sexual exploitation.
Some estimates rank it as the third largest international crime industry – behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking – with profits that may run as high as $32 billion worldwide. Fierce Freedom estimates that 300,000 children are sexually exploited annually in the United States, and that their average age is 12 when they are forced into human trafficking.
Emerson is a member of the Wisconsin Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, co-chairs its Implementation work group, belongs to the Wisconsin Anti-Trafficking Consortium and is the developer of the “Be Aware Campaign,” a local training program that fights human trafficking in the hospitality industry. She can be reached for questions or comments by phone at 715-514-2890 or via email at email@example.com.