When hearing about human trafficking, most here in Milwaukee will picture a far away place, and whole heartily claim to themselves and others that it would never happen here or anywhere in America. But the truth is that is does happen in America and it does happen in Milwaukee. In fact, many consider Milwaukee “the Harvard of pimp school,” and over the past five years it has ranked among the top five cities in the nation for the recovery of trafficked adolescents. These facts may seem grim but Exploit No More, an nonprofit organization based in Milwaukee, has set out to make change and help those who have been trafficked.
Exploit No More has outlined three key approaches to bring an end to child sex trafficking in the Greater Milwaukee Region.
AWARENESS: People need to know about this issue and learn more about it. This includes prevention efforts, which are key to the end of child sex trafficking.
ADVOCACY: Advocating for stronger criminal prosecution of both the trafficker and the buyer. It is also important to advocate for sustainable government funding for organizations that are working to help this population.
AFTERCARE: The lack of long-term housing for survivors is key challenge in locally and globally. Locally, one of the main reasons is the huge financial weight of operating a home for minors. It requires certification, highly trained staff, along with basic needs for the survivors.
Melania Klemowits, Executive Coordinator put it this way, “We are huge in action and getting out into the community. Because you can have so many different ideas but if you aren't taking any action you aren't going to get anywhere, The more people know, the more people who are going to see what's happening, the more it will be reported advocating for victims,”.
Prior to getting involved with Exploit No More, Melania studied Criminal Justice at Bryant and Stratton College and always knew she wanted to work in a nonprofit. After a high school trip to Waco, Texas and seeing poverty first hand, she knew she needed to do something to help those affected by it. Immediately after returning from the trip, she began researching human trafficking and decided to further pursue helping victims.
Along with presenting and working with schools, churches, and other groups, Exploit No More is working and planning on opening an aftercare home by the end of 2018 in Milwaukee.
If you want to get involved, request a speaker, or just find out more, visit: www.exploitnomore.org