Lawton Memorial Library, 118 N. Bird St., La Farge, will host a program about human trafficking and modern day slavery, Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 6:30 p.m. Andrea Van Sickle, leader of the La Crosse-based Task Force to End Modern Slavery will present information about the scope of human trafficking in Wisconsin and the Coulee Region. She will share indicators on how to recognize victims of these crimes, convey what resources are available to help victims, and speak on prevention.

The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration took on this issue as a part of their social justice mission in 2012. At that time, the idea that human trafficking was a problem in this area was met with denial and indifference. The La Crosse Task Force to End Modern Slavery (TFEMS) was established in 2013. Following up on the results of surveys to more than 80 La Crosse area law enforcement agencies, human services, health care and educational organizations, the task force identified several areas of concern. Among them were advocacy and victim services, public awareness, training, and data collection to understand the extent and nature of the problem.

In 2015, a child sex trafficking sting at the French Island Days Inn led to the arrest of four people. The sting was a part of an initiative led by the FBI, which lead to the rescue of 149 underage victims and the arrests of 153 people in 135 cities for crimes related to child sex trafficking. Last year, a Sparta man who forced three heroin addicts to work as prostitutes was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.

This program is free and open to all. Refreshments will be served.

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