Katherine Wright of Wausau speaks with an employee at the Shell Gas Station in Weston about the signs of human trafficking to watch for. Wright was one of dozens who participated in a conference and outreach effort organized by local Presbyterian churches.
Dozens of people attended a human trafficking conference at Covenant Community Presbyterian Church in Schofield June 24, and spent the afternoon traveling to area hotels, motels and gas stations to educate workers about the signs of human trafficking to watch for.
The conference, a joint venture between Covenant Community and the First Presbyterian Church of Wausau, hoped to educate people about the signs of human trafficking and then sent attendees out to talk to employees at area businesses.
Nearly 100 area hotels, motels and gas stations were contacted, said Ruth Wrysinski of the Covenant Community Presbyterian Church, and nearly all of them agreed to allow the visits. Some of those signs of human trafficking include seeing one woman in a hotel with men coming in and out of the room, a woman with very few belongings, or a woman unable to leave the room, even for the room to be cleaned.
Wisconsin has seen an uptick in human trafficking cases. The state saw 63 reported cases in 2016, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, up from 50 in 2015.