January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and one organization is looking to spread the word on how this problem affects the UP.
The Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force includes membership from the Department of Justice, US Homeland Security Investigations, several UP law enforcement agencies, tribal communities, and social service providers.
Chair of Strategic Initiatives Stephanie Krieger says the group’s mission is to help combat human trafficking in the local area. “The Upper Peninsula, the place that we so love as being, in one regard, a benefit of being isolated away from the busyness of the cities, is also part of one of the reasons why the Upper Peninsula is raw for the crimes of human trafficking,” said Krieger.
The first Human Trafficking Unit was launched in Michigan in 2011 under then Attorney general Bill Schuette. New Attorney General Dana Nessel is expected to carry the torch in making anti-human trafficking initiatives in our state one of her main priorities.
Krieger says they have great momentum going into 2019 because of the involvement of citizens who care. “When you are able to get all varying levels from top to bottom, from federal to local, right down to non-profits and churches, saying ‘We are concerned! We want to help!”—we have currently over 100 different members of our UP Human Trafficking Task Force and growing,” she said.
The goal of this month is to bring awareness to this problem and help rescue the victims who are being forced into sex and labor slavery. Several community events are being planned throughout the UP in the coming weeks through Communities That Care locations. More information about specific dates will be made public when available.
To learn more about how you can join the fight, visit the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force’s Facebook page.
You can also listen to the entire interview with Stephanie Krieger on Copper Country Today by clicking here.