The Serve Marketing team and volunteers headed to the U.S. Open to help drive awareness for the expected rise in human trafficking activity around major sporting events. Their goal was to make people aware of how close this issue happens around you in your every day life and to educate the community on the signs to watch out for so that they can report suspicious activity.
According to the FBI, Milwaukee has consistently ranked among the top five cities in the nation for the recovery of trafficked adolescents over the past several years. And, Milwaukee is tied with Las Vegas for the third-highest number of young people rescued during trafficking-related FBI raids across the U.S.
“Our goal is to increase the awareness of the issue so that we can educate people to be conscious of the warning signs of this activity,” said Gary Mueller, Founder & Executive Creative Director of Serve, an all-volunteer, nonprofit advertising agency. “We also want johns [the purchasers of sex] to know that we’re going to be watching for them and reporting them.”
“Our message is very clear: we want to host great, world-class sporting events in our area. But the individuals who are selling kids and women for sex are not welcome here,” said Jarrett Luckett, Executive Director of Exploit No More. “Some people may be surprised to learn that human trafficking happens in all areas of Wisconsin, and small things such as being aware of the signs of trafficking can potentially save a life.”
A website has been created, TimeToSpeakUp.org, where people can go to become familiarized with the warning signs and know who to call should you see such activity.