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‘WI, We Need to Talk’ is the conversation we need to have about youth trafficking


Last week, the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DFC) launched a new campaign to address youth human trafficking in Wisconsin. New bus advertisements and posters reading “WI, We Need to Talk” are hitting Milwaukee bus stops and businesses to promote dialogue between adults, parents and children about some of the dangerous things happening to Wisconsin’s children.

According to the campaign, in 2017, over 7,000 sex trafficking cases were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, including cases all over Wisconsin.

Learn more about what the Wisconsin DFC is doing about it in the audio story below.

Dr. Joy Ippolito works as an “Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator” for Wisconsin DCF. As part of her position, she acts as a policy advisor for issues pertaining to the law enforcement of human trafficking.

Dr. Ippolito also played a huge role in designing the “WI, We Need to Talk” campaign. She’s been doing this work for two years and found the most impactful moments of her work to be when victims opened up to her and others about their experiences. This idea drove the campaign.

Working directly with victims who shared details of their experiences, they were able to design a curriculum that could teach people signs that could point to a child being trafficked. Not only will people be able to sense those warning signs, they are then taught to take action steps to help the victims to safety. To be more thorough, Dr. Ippolito says the campaign is also intended to teach people how to help victims get through the healing process as well.

Dr. Ippolito says the campaign has a focus on adults who work with children, but also is taught to business owners who may have interactions with children in their establishments. Teachers and parents alike will have online video resources and access to other web content with action steps to take.

The main idea behind the campaign is to open up dialogue between adults and youth effected by trafficking. If you’re interested in learning more about the issue and how to identify the signs, review the resource materials on the campaign’s websitehere.