RHINELANDER - Human Trafficking: not a problem you'd ever imagine having in the Northwoods.
But one local group is saying it is here; people just don't know how to identify it.
"The injustice, the outrage of human trafficking must be called by its true name: modern slavery," said President Obama in an address on trafficking.
Slavery fueled by crimes against Americans. Eighty percent of trafficking victims in the U.S. are U.S. citizens. Eighty two percent of those victims are from sex trafficking. The first step in fighting it is to tackle misconceptions.
"The most common misconception is that trafficking means that it's only a crime if there's some type of international transportation. What we're really talking about is a crime of either forced labor or forced sex trafficking," says John Vaudreuil, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.
One of the biggest problems is people see those victims as common prostitutes, in the profession willingly.
"What we're talking about is really peonage; involuntary, compelled, in this case, sex trafficking," says Vaudreuil.
The biggest challenge for prosecutors is they don't get self-reporting victims.
"They're terrified of the police, they're terrified of the person who's controlling them. So the challenge for us is to see people as victims when they are not going to report themselves as victims," says Vaudreuil.
"It's very important, I felt, to bring the information to not only law enforcement but to all of the systems that could potentially work with victims to recognize the red flags," says Shellie Holmes, Executive Director of the Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
Once Holmes recognized those red flags she was stunned to realize it has already been right in front of them.
"I realized that in the last three years we have had three trafficked women in our shelter. We just didn't know how to identify it," says Holmes.
A problem the council hopes education will solve. For now, they want the community to keep its eyes open and keep in mind things may not always be what they seem.
RHINELANDER - Wisconsin will get a new state attorney general this election year.That could mean new changes for the department.
But many of the candidates agree that more needs to be done to deal with heroin in Wisconsin.
Police and prosecutors say the drug continues to spread throughout the state. Republican candidate Brad Schimel, Waukesha County district attorney, believes heroin and opiates are one of the state’s biggest challenge.
"We're seeing more people die from accidental drug overdoses than we're seeing in car crashes," Schimel said. "That is a dangerous statistic for us to be looking at."
According to a Gannet Wisconsin Investigative study, at least 199 people died in 2012 in Wisconsin from drug overdoses.
The legislature has passed several bills this session to fight heroin and help people who are addicted to the drug.
State Rep. Jon Richards-(D) Milwaukee, is one of three Democratic candidates running for attorney general. He believes the state needs to keep going after drug traffickers.
"Local prosecutors and law enforcement are already stretched to the max in terms of their man power," Richards said. "We have to be addressing these new problems of public safety in creative ways and effective ways."
Democratic candidates Susan Happ and Ismael Ozanne were not available before running this story.
Richards was touring the Northwoods Friday talking to media and district attorneys in the area.
The Democratic primary is set for August 12th. Election day is Nov. 4, 2014.
ST. GERMAIN - We all love our favorite sports teams. But what would happen if you had to dress up in your rival's gear? That's exactly what happened to Bears fan, Jerry Healy.
He's the janitor at St. Germain Elementary School. Healy challenged the students to raise over $700 for charity. If they did he'd wear the green and gold.
“Mr Healy you're unbelievable thank you for doing this,” says Jerry Healy, St. Germain Elementary School Janitor. “One kid said, "all this is disgusting Mr. Healy,” and another little kid who's a diehard Packers fan came up he came up and he's got an orange and blue pair of pants on and goes I'm a bears fan, today you're a packer fan, and that was pretty cool he's in second grade.”
As you can see the students surpassed the goal. The money went to pennies for patients. It’s an organization that supports people diagnosed with leukemia. The challenge brought the whole school together.
“Well I think they rose to the occasion they understood they're helping others in an easy but fun way. They came together as a class, as a whole school and just had a lot of fun with it,” says Jeff Waltz, a third grade teacher at St. Germain Elementary School.
This wasn't the first time Jerry got to dress up as a Packers fan. He did the same thing a few years ago when students accomplished a reading goal.
WOODRUFF - The Olympics might be over, but the Paralympics are underway in Sochi. Teachers at one local school are using the Olympic spirit to teach students about other countries.
Students at North Country Montessori celebrated International Day Friday morning. The students learn about different countries throughout the school year.
"The children at Montessori do a huge unit on geography and world culture, and we used today as a way to express the information that we found and things that we've learned," says North Country Montessori director Candice Henderson.
This year's theme was the Sochi Olympics.
Each student dressed up as a different country and sang songs in Russian.
This was the school's 30th annual International Day celebration. It ended with a potluck meal featuring ethnic food from different countries.
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