Wisconsin’s Racine Police Department hopes to have its own task force in place to address the issue of human trafficking locally by pooling resources throughout the county and providing officers dedicated time to investigate related cases, according to Deputy Chief Todd Schulz.
By establishing a task force, Schulz intends to give investigators more dedicated time to “dig into” related crimes like prostitution or cases that may lead to trafficking like runaway children. It will also enable those investigators to turn more attention to the Internet, where a large portion of the sex crimes have shifted.
Once the task force is established and the department gets a better sense of the prevalence of human trafficking in the community, Schulz said the department is prepared to amp up or reign in resources accordingly. “These cases are tough to work with just one person,” Schulz said. “Probably none of us have the manpower to dedicate to do that right but together we can share resources and accomplish that task. … Now the private-sector stuff, that’s probably a little bit farther down the road. There you’re not just asking for manpower, you’re looking for financing, housing and for counseling.”
But counseling and support is a crucial element to the department’s vision for the task force. Rather than aim at increasing arrests, Schulz said the focus of the task force is on victims of human trafficking who are often in that particular situation because of other aspects of their life.
Administrators at the department are also collaborating with Sister Rose Anthony, who heads a committee of Dominican Sisters who have been studying human trafficking. “I do feel people need to study on human trafficking and know what it’s about and how it is going on,” Anthony said. “We need to save our children.”
Learn more at Luke Feuerherm’s The Journal Times article: Targeting trafficking: Racine PD setting up task force to investigate, assist victims in area.