The issue of human trafficking is back in the spotlight after accusations that New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft solicited prostitution at a Florida day spa.
It’s a problem that plagues the State of Wisconsin, especially right here in the Greater Milwaukee Area.
At 16-years-old, Nancy Yarbrough was groomed into human trafficking.
“They welcomed me and that felt more than special to me,” Yarbrough said. “The lure, the glitter, the glam, the money, all the affirmations.”
She only wanted to feel loved and accepted, and that’s what she was getting from her best friend’s brother.
However, it turned into an ugly lifestyle.
“He made my decisions for me," Yarbrough said. "He put a quota on my head."
Unfortunately, it’s something that happens in all Wisconsin counties.
According to the Greater Milwaukee Task Force, 79 percent of reported cases in the state happen in Milwaukee.
The Medical College says from 2013 to 2016, 340 people under 25-years-old were sex trafficked in the city, but the problem is receiving more attention with a high profile case in the news.
Michelle Peterson of Fight To End Exploitation, an anti-trafficking organization, says this is a step in the right direction.
“Cases like Robert Kraft really do a lot to expose what really is happening, that buyers are buying sex every single day,” Peterson said.
The organization is also trying to prevent more cases by educating teens before it happens, working with law enforcement and helping survivors with resources.
“We need to support them. We need to stop looking at them like criminals,” Peterson said.
As for Yarbrough, she turned her life around and is helping others do the same.
“We’ve just got to keep moving forward because there’s always somebody else in place that somebody’s waiting to groom,” Yarbrough said.
If you know anyone who may be a victim of human trafficking, you can call the hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text, “help” or “info” to 233733.