Awareness Abound!

Awareness.January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month
by Just Add Kids Founder,
Paula Herrmann

Child Sex Trafficking. Just typing it almost makes me want to vomit.
The industry of human sex trafficking, up until only over a year ago, was a reality I thought was only known in third world countries. The United States? Heck no. SE Wisconsin? Yah, right. (snicker).

My eyes were opened upon a presentation and screening that I attended in which the subject dealt with the dangers of the internet as it relates to children (and the vulnerable). It’s a freaking scary world out “there” for our kiddos. I know. Mine had been lured.  Read more…

Exploit No More stats children Wisconsin 1.2016

Source: Exploit No More Facebook page

My kids. Not your typical high risk target, you’d think. Internet predators scour through chat rooms (your kid’s games/gaming devices have them) and social network sites looking for children.  They will build a relationship throughout a period of time, over the course of weeks and sometimes even months, until the child target feels that they can trust their new “friend”. What kiddo doesn’t want to hear praise about how well they play Minecraft or other game? What kid doesn’t want a friend that listens and agrees with them when they feel they are unjustly being disciplined by their parent?

More than ever, today’s kids are at risk, even from the comfort of their own family room couch. Thank goodness, my son’s creeper activity ended due to the insight of my then 10 year old son who felt uncomfortable with the ongoing communication. He cut him/her off. I only found out about it AFTER I was informed by the tactics I learned about at that presentation and opened up the dialog with my kids. This is what ignited my passion to not sit idle, but do what I can to become part of the solution. Luring via the internet is only one of the avenues that can lead to human trafficking, and we as parents and community, need to take heed.

So now you are aware. And what better of a month, Human Trafficking Awareness Month, to glean knowledge about the second most profitable industry (after drug trafficking). The statistics will astound you!

In light of this month, the Racine Coalition Against Human Trafficking is hosting a number of events in support of its work in Racine County.

As part of RCAHT’s Faith-Based Committee, I wish to highlight the vigil that will take place on Sunday, January 31, 2016 from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. We would like to take a moment to recognize those who have been or are being trafficked and shine a light into the darkness of this crime that affects 27 million people around the world, including our own community members. The event is FREE and open to the public and will include music, candlelight worship, and viewing of the short documentary Chosen produced by well-known human trafficking organization Shared Hope.

Both vigil locations will have a donation area for Faith, Hope, & Love that creates New Beginnings bags for children recovered from human trafficking. Donations needed: new blanket, stuffed animal, flashlight, journal, personal hygiene items, non-perishable snacks, $5 McDonalds Gift Cards, feminine products, water bottle, shorts, t-shirt, sweatshirt, sweatpants, undergarments, socks, and flip-flops.

The vigil will take place at the following two locations, simultaneously:

Downtown Racine:                                                    Near the Interstate:
Living Light Community Center                        Great Lakes Church
(Old YWCA)                                                               (New Location)
740 College Avenue, Racine                                 9605 Spring Street, Mt. Pleasant

RCAHT Human Trafficking Vigil 1.31.2016

Due to sensitive material, Chosen is recommended for ages 12 and up and we will be offering childcare by reservation only for ages 1-11 years old. Email to reserve childcare. Please send child’s name, age, allergy or other key information, parent or guardian attending vigil, contact number and what location they will be attending.

For more information about Shared Hope and Chosen, go to:

In addition to the vigil, the Coalition has other activities going in support of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month including a benefit concert on Jan 28 with Well-Known Strangers and Saturday Night Preachers and a major wine tasting and live jazz benefit on Feb 5th. For more information on all events go to

I hope you see your role in the fight against human trafficking and take action. It took awhile for it to click with me.

More about Racine Coalition Against Human Trafficking: RCAHT  is a network of local resources (law enforcement, shelters, health providers and other services) collaborating to increase communication among all providers, identify gaps in services for victims and prevent conditions that foster human trafficking in Racine County through education and outreach efforts. For more information contact us at, find us on Facebook, or contact Karri Hemmig at (262) 909-6612.



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