A pilot program to reduce or eliminate human trafficking in Chippewa Valley hotels has been launched by Fierce Freedom, Visit Eau Claire and the Eau Claire police department.
Staff at Fierce Freedom and the police department have developed a training curriculum called “Be Aware” which will be used to train hospitality workers to spot prostitution that may be occurring in area hotels. The campaign not only will train hotel employees, but will also rate hotels on how aggressively they are attempting to fight human trafficking.
The program is the first of its kind in Wisconsin, and may be the first one set up nationally. Fierce Freedom has plans to expand the program to other parts of the state, according to Jodi Emerson, director of public policy and community relations for the organization.
A total of 16 hotel properties have started the training and certification process, Emerson said in a press release.
Fierce Freedom is an Eau Claire-based non-profit organization that works to fight human trafficking in the Midwest. Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world and affects almost 46 million people worldwide, according to the organization.
In the United States, it is estimated that 300,000 children each year are sexually exploited with an average age of entry into human trafficking of 12.