2015 | Week of December 14 | #1128
I was not impressed. In fact, I was angry.
This past Sunday afternoon I had what for me is a rare privilege. I had tickets to see the Packers play at Lambeau Field. I was excited in spite of the all-day rain that was going to be part of my game-day experience. My excitement, however, was significantly dampened and even for a time turned to anger as I drove up Lombardi Ave.
Just in front of the stadium was a huge digital bill board—and the advertisement I saw prominently displayed the three times I came up the street sickened me. In glaring lights and gigantic letters was a very clear advertisement for a sexually explicit business. I thought immediately about all the families headed to the game bringing their children who would see that sign and about how many marriages would be impacted by the husbands seeing that sign and their minds going places they shouldn’t. I wondered how many of the men who attended the game would head to this place afterwards. I was disgusted by the sign and angered by it.
Unfortunately, that’s not the only advertisement for such establishments along the main route to Lambeau Field. Coming up 41 from the south it’s hard to miss the multiple bill boards advertising these blights on Wisconsin communities. And by the way, I’ll no longer be referring to them as “sexually oriented businesses.” That’s much too soft and too oblique of a term. I’ll be calling them what they are: sexually explicit businesses
I know. These enterprises wouldn’t be around if they didn’t have business. I get that, and it grieves me that so many men today have bought the lie that frequenting these places is acceptable. However, communities where such businesses are located are often impacted in ways many people don’t realize. For instance, did you know that these places are very much linked to sex trafficking?
Research and investigations show that the young women and even minor girls who get caught in the growing sex trafficking industry, including here in Wisconsin, are often put to work in these clubs, where they become hostesses, servers, dancers—and, of course, prostitutes. The owners and staff of these clubs use coercion, force and fraud to trap the victims and keep them in their clutches. The businesses obviously provide the right climate and venue for this patently illegal and incredibly dangerous activity.
Earlier this fall a Milwaukee man pleaded guilty to two charges of sex trafficking. Making this situation worse, this pimp taught his teenaged son how to sexually exploit women, resulting in the son’s 16-year-old girlfriend being forced to work in a local sexually explicit business—with her work including prostitution.
Wisconsin recently was part of a sting operation involving sex trafficking. Rounded up were both criminals and victims, a good number of which were minors. What was also revealed is that Milwaukee has become what some are calling “‘the Harvard of pimp school’ and Wisconsin is now a hub of human trafficking.” According to the FBI, Milwaukee consistently ranks among the top five cities in the nation for “recovery of trafficked adolescents.”
About the same time as this sting operation took place this last fall, a number of Milwaukee residents were working hard to keep another sexually explicit business from coming into their city. Amazingly, a city alderman indicated he believes maybe the best way to save the city money from legal fees incurred trying to stop the business is to have an entire area zoned for sexually explicit businesses. Of course the club seeking permission to locate downtown thinks this is a great idea.
Frankly, I can’t think of a worse idea, especially as it relates to sex trafficking, which heavily relies for its dastardly work on readily available public transportation as well as the anonymity a large city provides, for its dastardly work.
But Milwaukee isn’t the only Wisconsin city with a sex trafficking problem. The Fox Valley including Green Bay is also experiencing an increase in this offense. With the prominent bill boards along US 41 from Oshkosh into Appleton and the mammoth sign in front of Lambeau Field, all advertising places that foster sex trafficking, why should we be surprised? We get what we promote. More of us need to be offended and angered.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”