Human trafficking has many faces, victims, and dark corners in this world. Even here in the Upper Peninsula, minors are exploited, and forced labor puts people in bad situations. Victims of these circumstances are looking for a way out. The Portage Health Foundation and the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force are working together to give residents the tools they need to pick up on possible abusive or bad situations. UPHTTF President Stephanie Graef said several events in the western Upper Peninsula next week will focus specifically on human trafficking in the UP.
Advancements in the internet and social media has driven a cross over between this highly illegal industry and industries like hotels and bars. Graef said this makes it easier for bad actors to exploit U.S. citizens and immigrants through sex or labor trafficking.
The first talk will be next Monday October 11th at the Baraga Lakeside Inn. On Tuesday at the Ontonagon Theatre for Performing Arts and on Wednesday at the Finnish-American Heritage Center in Hancock. All three events will start at 5:30 pm.
The Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force hopes to educate the community with the events. They will also provide tools for starting the conversation about human trafficking and how to recognize the signs. Teachers, first responder, parents of young children and preteens are encouraged to attend one of the events. But they are open to anyone who want to learn more about how human trafficking happens here. For more information about the events taking place in the western UP visit phfgive.org/trafficking or upht123.org