January 13 Presentation to Highlight Presence of Local Sex Trafficking

Photo courtesy Damascus Road

Faith Lutheran Church to Host Workshop with Speaker Lisa Sennholz

Sex Trafficking exists in Wisconsin. On Saturday, January 13, Faith Lutheran Church (207 S Cherry Ave) is hosting a presentation by Lisa Senholz, Founder and Director of the Damascus Road Project based out of Antigo, Wisconsin. Using education and advocacy, the nonprofit organization is working to end human trafficking.

“We have selected Damascus Road Project speaker Lisa Sennholz to speak on the topic of human trafficking because we have a commitment to helping stop this activity in our community and surrounding communities and our state,” said Kathy Stockton-Behnke, member of Faith Lutheran Church of Marshfield Social Concerns Mission Team and coordinator of the workshop.

With the goal to educate communities of people and to advocate for women who are victims of trafficking, Sennholz visits prisons and jails and reaches out to help women see that they are victims and to help them find way out.

“She has a great depth of knowledge and experience in the area of human trafficking,” said Stockton-Behnke. “In my view, she has dedicated her life to this cause.”

According to Damascus Road Project, all 72 counties in Wisconsin are affected by human trafficking, including Marshfield and surrounding communities.

“Unfortunately, it is happening before our eyes but we don’t see it,” said Stockton-Behnke. “It is reported that Milwaukee is the ‘pimp university’ of the US, but it has spilled out of the urban areas and into the rural parts of the state. Groups of women are ‘bussed’ from town to town while online reservations are made for their services.”

Those who attend will learn what human trafficking is, where it occurs, what the vulnerabilities are of victims, where traffickers find children and young adults, what recruitment tactics are used, and what the signs are of a trafficked individual. The topics include sensitive sexual content.

Stockton-Behnke encourages every adult to attend, especially those who care about children and youth who are vulnerable to the type of persuasion that is used to entice victims.

“So, that would be all children and youth: sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, kids at school and in the neighborhood. Those who work with children and youth would certainly benefit and those who work with at-risk women and men,” said Stockton-Behnke. “As adults we need to know how to recognize trafficking behaviors and what to do about it. Who should we report it to? We have an opportunity through this workshop to hear from an expert.”

Registration begins on Saturday at 8:30 with coffee and treats; workshop begins at 9:00am with lecture time until 12:00 with a break midway. From 12:00-12:15 there will be a Q and A. Lisa will have materials available at her display table and will be available after her presentation to answer questions.

“Lisa has a quote in her brochure from William Wilberforce who was an English politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to stop the slave trade. He said, ‘You may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say you did not know,’ said Stockton-Behnke. “What is happening in our communities, counties, and our state is slavery in the form of human trafficking. It is incumbent upon us to help stop it. The best way to do that is to learn how to see it and then what to do about what we see.”

Register at [email protected], and questions about the workshop can also be directed to that email.

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