2019 | Week of April 8 | #1303
We shouldn’t be surprised given our sex-crazed society, but I confess I blanched when I read recently that human sex-trafficking is in all 72 counties, from major population centers like Milwaukee County to decidedly rural counties like Rusk or Taylor. No area of our state is safe from this insidious business.
What’s making this preying on, in particular young women and even girls, so widespread in our state? We know the proliferation of so-called “sexually oriented businesses” is definitely part of the problem. Please never call these gentlemen’s clubs or adult entertainment. They are neither.
For years I’ve watched these unsavory, unwholesome, sleazy businesses pop up in small communities all around the state. I remember being alarmed when one showed up on the city square in little Juneau, the county seat for Dodge county—followed rather quickly by one in Lebanon, which is truly just a small rural community in Dodge County. This one especially was bothersome because it took over a building that for years was a popular restaurant especially known for its family atmosphere and Friday night fish fry.
In another part of the state, if you travel 41 north from Milwaukee towards Green Bay, greeting you in one stretch are several billboards advertising these debauche businesses. As you get into Green Bay over toward Lambeau Field, you can’t miss one of the biggest billboards I’ve ever seen beckoning people to the “Oval Office Green Bay’s Top Exotic Gentlemen’s Club,” proudly boasting a picture of the White House as a part of the graphics. Head west a bit and take the I39/Highway 51 route out Portage towards Wausau, and eventually you seeone of these establishments sandwiched between of all things a truck stop an a terrible looking hotel that may as well run a marquee advertising rooms by the hour.
I mention these establishments, because we know they harbor people who are involved with sex trafficking and prostitution. Last week news broke that the feds are investigating a co-owner of a Milwaukee strip-club because they believe he is involved with sex trafficking and as the headline said, “torture” related to prostitution. This makes sense if you know Milwaukee is considered a hub for sex trafficking. But the charges against this man don’t stem from the club he owns in Milwaukee, but from the one he owned in rural Lebanon, which fortunately has been closed for some time now after a similar scandal broke a couple of years ago.
In addition to these physical places becoming havens for sex-trafficking and other perverted behavior, the Internet is also one of the reasons this business is virtually everywhere. Those seeking to lure women and young girls are masters at using technology to snare these unsuspecting victims into their lair—and truly only the very fortunate ever get out, let alone get out alive.
So what can we do to protect our children and our communities? First and really most important, parents, please be the parent. Take control of Internet access in your home and on any device your child may have. Act on these three words that could truly save your child’s life: filter, restrict and monitor.
At a community level, check to see if your municipality has ordinances specifically written to keep such entities out. If not, work immediately to get such ordinances passed. Once a business is in a community, it’s hard to get them out. However, some good can be done by passing ordinances that limit hours of operation, how dances can be performed, and distance from dancers to the patrons. In addition, it is absolutely worth trying to deny them a liquor license—liquor and these businesses are virtually inseparable.
Maybe one of the best things we can all do is to admit we have a problem and keep on the lookout for situations that make us question what’s going on when we see something that looks suspicious. A call that ends up being nothing is far better than ignoring something that ends up with another Wisconsin victim becoming enslaved in this dark and tortuous world.
For more information and to learn how you can support the work of Wisconsin Family Council, please visit wifamilycouncil.org or call 888-378-7395.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”