Cha, cha, cha, changes.

“Keeping Kids Safe In A World Of proceed with caution
Rapidly Changing Technology”

by JAK’s guest mom blogger from Racine,
Karri Hemmig

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, online gaming, texting, sexting, emailing and by the time you finished reading this list a new social platform is being developed.


As a mother of three children ages 12 and under, I struggle to keep up with the rapidly evolving technology and social media forums. It feels like chasing a kid through a maze that is constantly changing and it’s overwhelming! Where do we begin? Read more…


For example, The Journal of Adolescent Health reports that while only 18% of youth use chat rooms, however, the majority of Internet-initiated sex crimes against children are initiated in chat rooms. What? Chat Rooms still exist? Suddenly I am feeling my middle age.


Human Trafficking. It’s a term that invokes images of exotic women being kidnapped and kept in brothel-like prisons half way around the world. While this is a true reality for some of the estimated 27 million trafficked girls around the world, a slightly different version of it exists right here in the United States. Small towns, large cities, even the remote oil fields of North Dakota – it’s everywhere and it is a very profitable industry. The United Nations estimates that human trafficking generates $9.5 billion dollars yearly in the United Sates.


Ranked as the second most profitable criminal industry behind drugs, human trafficking is a lucrative business that is growing. It is estimated that every 30 seconds another person becomes a victim of trafficking and 99% of victims are never rescued. Guns and drugs are sold once before having to be replenished but a human being can be used over and over again. It’s considered modern day slavery and the average age of entrance into sex trafficking in the United States is 12-14 years for girls and 9-11 years for boys. Human trafficking does not discriminate and affects people of all backgrounds, race, income and gender. The Internet has become a perfect place to not only sell sex but to find potential victims to exploit as well.


According to National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, approximately 1 in 7 (13%) youth Internet users received unwanted sexual solicitations. The same report also found that in aggressive sexual solicitations of youth (when the solicitor attempted to establish an offline contact via in-person meeting or phone call), 73% of youth met the solicitor online. These are scary statistics to someone like me who is just trying to focus on keeping her online passwords memorized and safe.


The good news is that the secret weapon against human trafficking is education. Teaching law enforcement, educators, coaches, flight attendants, hotel housekeepers and truckers to name a few in identifying signs of trafficking and how to report it. Truckers Against Trafficking is a non-profit organization dedicated to arming the trucking industry with human trafficking knowledge and training them to be the eyes and ears of our nation’s roads. One truck driver’s call not only save the girls he came across but broke open a case that convicted 31 offenders, rescued 7 other minors and shut down a 13 state prostitution ring. We also want to educate our parents and children on how to prevent becoming a victim as well. Arming ourselves with online safety knowledge is one step in that fight.


The Racine Coalition Against Human Trafficking and the Racine Dominicans are proud to sponsor a free educational seminar next Wednesday, November 12th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Gateway Technical College, located at 1001 South Main in downtown Racine.

Racine Coalition Against Human Trafficking Internet Safety presentation



“The Dark Side of Digital Technology: Internet, Cell Phone & Social Media” is an Internet safety crash course for an adult audience only by Special Agent Eric Szatowski of the Wisconsin Department of Justice. The event is free and open to the public (ages 18 and up).


Considered an expert in the field, Special Agent Szatowski has earned a reputation as one of the top officers in the nation in apprehending sexual predators who use the Internet, cell phones and/or social media to hurt children. His presentations have been seen by over a quarter of a million people in Wisconsin and across the U.S and have inspired the drafting and passage of Wisconsin Assembly Bill 942 in 2006 which increased the level of felonies and penalties for online predators. He has been featured on numerous national media outlets including Tyra Banks Show in Los Angeles, and CNN Tonight in New York City.


Don’t miss this free seminar and also learn more about how human trafficking is being fought here in Racine.

Hemmig, Bitting and Meibers Family picturesAbout our guest blogger :

Karri Hemmig is the mother of three children and founder of the Racine Coalition Against Human Trafficking. Karri has a BA in Mass Communication from the College of Charleston and has spent most of her 25-year career in non-profit marketing and public relations. While serving as the Marketing Director for the Cincinnati Area Red Cross in Ohio, she has also worked for National American Red Cross as a member of Disaster Services public affairs team. Currently co-leader of the Dining for Women Racine Chapter, she supports international organizations working to eradicate slavery around the world. Karri is a member of the Racine Police Department’s Human Trafficking Task Force and most recently worked as a victim advocate during the FBI’s Operation Cross Country 2014.



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