is the average age a child begins being trafficked for sex.

Human trafficking is perceived to be a problem confined to faraway countries and only the most crime-ridden American cities. But Milwaukee is now experiencing a surge in the number of cases where the average age of the children being groomed and sold for sex is 13. That’s why parents and children need to know more about the issue and what they can do to prevent it. Especially in the summer, when kids are unsupervised and most vulnerable to being targeted by traffickers.

Facts About Human Trafficking

  • An estimated 300,000 children become victims of sex trafficking every year.
  • The average age a girl is groomed and sold for sex is 13.
  • Most children come from ‘normal’ homes and go to school regularly.
  • Pimps are kidnapping or coercing children right off the street in almost every major city in the US. He/She may also be someone you know.
  • Child sex trafficking is an organized crime operation that generates a BILLION dollars a year using sites like Craigslist, Backpage and Red Book to do business and sell children to local and overseas pedophiles daily.
  • Child sex trafficking is usually a mobile business where “the team” (Pimp, wifeys, and kiddies) go from town to town or truck stop to truck stop, posting ads on sites like Craigslist to entice pedophiles to rape these children for hire.
  • The prostituted child is brainwashed into believing they are worthless and that nobody will want them anymore. This makes the child extremely afraid to flee or run away from the abductor.
  • A simple GPS device can enable you and your child to develop a program of safety together.

Milwaukee Stats:

  • Gender

    92% of youth trafficked in Milwaukee are female. Most contract STDs that can damage their reproductive systems, making human sex trafficking a problem that produces generations of victims.

  • Race

    78% of youth bought and sold by human traffickers in Milwaukee are African American. Human trafficking in Milwaukee is racially skewed and growing.

  • Location

    79% of human trafficking cases reported in Wisconsin occur in the City of Milwaukee. Human trafficking is a problem that is happening in our streets and right in our backyard and has been documented in all 72 counties of Wisconsin.

Warning Signs

Here are things to watch for in teens who may be victims of sex trafficking.

  • Less interest in age appropriate activities
  • Untreated sexually transmitted diseases
  • Avoiding eye contact, social interaction, low self-esteem
  • Showing signs of physical injuries and abuse
  • Drastic change in attitude, clothing, friends.
  • Multiple cell phones
  • expensive gifts
  • Checking into hotel/motels with older males
  • Security measures that appear to keep people inside an establishment-barbed wire inside a fence, bars covering windows, etc

Tips for Teenagers

Tips for Teenagers

Resources for Teens in difficult situations, click here.

  1. Think twice if a friend asks you to do a favor for money
  2. Be mindful of your friend dating older guys
  3. Ask questions if your friends has large amounts of money unexpectedly or an upgrade in her clothing, hair, nails, etc
  4. Be accountable for your time and check in with your friends and parents.
  5. Be wary of a stranger who you see several times in different places (they could be following you)
  6. Do not give a stranger your address.
  7. Listen to your gut feelings. If it feels weird/wrong, it probably is.
  8. Do not get into a car with a stranger
  9. If you think someone is following you, try to stay in a crowded place
  10. If you think someone is following you, tell them to stop or you will go to the police
  11. Never open the door of your house or hotel for someone you don’t know
  12. If someone asks if you are alone, tell them you’re meeting a friend

Tips for Parents

Here are some tips to keep your children and teens safe and prevent them from human trafficking.

  1. 1Reduce vulnerabilities and have healthy conversations with your children.
  2. 2Know who their friends are. Your child may be friends with someone who is involved in a sex trafficking ring. If you do not know who they are—find out! Middle school children are the prime target for human trafficking, so get involved in your child’s school so that you know who is who.
  3. 3Remind your child and teen to keep their Facebook pages and any social media profile pages private. Predators use social media sites to find girls and boys they want to traffic.
  4. 4Keep your child busy with healthy extracurricular activities that they enjoy. Pimps and predators surf malls, parking lots, fast food restaurant parking lots and quick-stop gas stations to find their next victims. If your child is telling you they are going to “hang out,” ask questions and check in with them frequently.
  5. 5Educate your child about human sex trafficking.
  6. 6Pimps/traffickers tend to watch the victim and study their habits. It also isn't uncommon for you and your child to know the pimp/predator. When your child heads out for the night, ask them who their safety buddy will be, and tell your child/teen to stick with this person.
  7. 7Look into a GPS device for your child. Many professionals recommend the Amber Alert GPS system. The software can be added to a smart phone or can be a small device that your child keeps in a pant or coat pocket.
  8. 8If you have suspicions, comb your child’s computer, cell phones, iPads or any digital devices and their bedrooms looking for clues. If you think that something is going on with your child that could put them in danger, your suspicions are probably right. Don’t let your child make you feel guilty for keeping them safe. You are their parent…not their best friend. While you may also be a great friend, as a parent it is your responsibility to keep your child safe.

Who To Call

If you suspect someone is being trafficked, please call the Milwaukee Police.


If it's an emergency, dial 911

National Human Trafficking Resource Center 24-Hour Hotline 1.888.373.7888 or text BeFree (233733)

Resources for Teens in difficult situations, click here.