Support Our Work and Make a Donation!

3 Typologies of Human Trafficking in Wisconsin: Headlines as Teaching Tools

Human trafficking is not the singular issue of sex trafficking that many people attribute it to. Unfortunately, it’s so much more than that as defined through twenty-five typologies according to studies done by Polaris Project. Understanding the different typologies of human trafficking contributes to awareness and prevention. 

Let’s take a look at three typologies of human trafficking that have made headlines in recent years to better understand the scope of trafficking. 

Forced Migrant Farm Labor

Forced migrant farm labor is one typology of labor trafficking. Victims are often legal immigrants in the United States on work visas who are forced to work for little or nothing. The contractors overseeing their employment threaten to deport them, harm their families, and confiscate their paperwork making it nearly impossible for victims to ask for help.

We spent all day crouched down,” he said. “Who really knows how our backs took it? Sometimes it rained, and we couldn’t even walk. It got cold, and we were cutting winter cabbage in a heavy, horrible cold. This is how they make you work.

Roberto, from Fainting and Freezing in the Fields Article

Fainting and freezing in the fields: Alleged labor trafficking victim tells of mistreatment in Wisconsin, Georgia

By Alexandra Hall and Sarah Whites-Koditschek, Wisconsin Public Radio | September 2019

MOUNT PLEASANT — The Borzynski’s Farm Market in Mount Pleasant, Wis., sells produce grown in Wisconsin, including cabbage, sweet corn, leafy greens and green beans. A federal indictment alleges 14 men from Mexico were forced to work illegally in nearby fields owned by the Borzynskis in 2016. The owners of the farm said in a statement that they had no knowledge of the alleged trafficking. Read more…

Walworth County Fairgrounds at center of human trafficking investigation

By Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | August 2021

ELKORN – A Honduran man who came to the United States on a work visa has been indicted on charges that he abused that same process to exploit other Hondurans into forced labor, through an operation centered at the Walworth County Fairgrounds. Denis Leonel Rodriguez Oyuela, 37, was arrested this month at the fairgrounds and was charged last week by a federal grand jury with conspiracy to commit fraud in foreign labor contracting, conspiracy to force others into labor, as well as with aiding, abetting and conspiracy to commit alien harboring for financial gain. Read more…

Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Strip Clubs

Commerical Sexual Exploitation is the most recognizable form of human trafficking but in the environment of a strip club, street solicitation, or escort services it’s often mislabelled as voluntary prostitution. This mislabelling is how victims of forced prostitution, sexual violence, and extreme truama go unnoticed and without support. According to Stopping Traffic, only 1% of victims survive trafficking and 80% of survivors do not receive any help or resources for their recovery and healing.

She was required to get a tattoo of his name to show that she was his property, prosecutors said.

From Harford Man Pleads Guity in Federal Case Article

Hartford man pleads guilty in federal case involving strip club dancers forced into ‘prostitution dates’

By Katie DeLong, Fox6Now | September 2019

MILWAUKEE — Christopher Childs pleaded guilty to sex trafficking on Sept. 9, one count of the seven-count indictment to sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion charge for allegations occurring between January 2004 and December 2009, according to the plea agreement.  In addition to prison time, Childs faces a maximum fine of $250,000, three years’ maximum of supervised release, mandatory special assessments totaling $5,100, and restitution. The remaining counts were dismissed as a result of the plea deal. According to federal prosecutors, from 2004 through December 2009, Childs operated as a pimp in strip clubs in the Milwaukee area and elsewhere, and he would recruit women, including the victim, along with at least one minor, to work for him. Read more… 

Judge Sentences Milwaukee Man to 45 Years’ Imprisonment for Sex Trafficking

By Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Wisconsin | October 2021

Richard G. Frohling, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on October 4, 2021, Calvin C. Freeman, Jr. was sentenced to a term of 45 years’ imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release after being convicted of 14 federal crimes, including sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion, interstate transportation for prostitution, interstate transportation of a minor for criminal sexual activity, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon, as well as obstruction and contempt of court. Read more…

Indentured Servitude

Indentured Servitude or debt bondage is another typology of labor trafficking. It’s defined as an employer forcing a worker to pay off debt through inhumane means causing works to be trapped in a continuous work cycle. Debt bondage may be entered through a consentual agreement, however the employer utlimately abuses that agreement.

[The employer] controlled the food that the mom and her son were allowed to eat. All the food in the house was kept separate. Occasionally, the mother and son were not allowed to eat for an entire day.

From MPS teacher Charged with Human Trafficking Article

Milwaukee Public School teacher charged with human trafficking and sexual assault now charged with bail jumping’

By James Groh, Tom Durian, WTMJ Milwaukee | September 2019

WEST ALLIS — Christian Mothershead, 46, of West Allis, was arrested Sept. 7, about a week after he was accused of luring a Filipino woman and her child to the United States and forcing them to clean his filthy home under the threat of not being provided food and water. He’s been charged with two counts of human trafficking and second-degree sexual assault.  According to a criminal complaint filed Sept. 12, Mothershead was out on bail on Sept. 7 when the victim received a phone call and recognized Mothershead’s voice saying, “You have to stop what you’re doing.” Read more…

According to the US Immigrations and Customs Department, this case was the second-longest indentured-servitude case investigated by HSI. This was one of the first federal cases to be prosecuted under the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), and the first human trafficking conviction whose elements did not stem upon physical abuse, but rather through fraud and threatened deportation.

Wisconsin Couple Sentenced for Forcing a Woman to Work as Their Domestic Servant for 19 Years

By Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs | June 2009

MILWAUKEE – Jefferson Calimlim Sr. and his wife, Elnora Calimlim, both medical doctors in Milwaukee, Wis., were each sentenced today to 72 months in prison for forcing a woman to work as their domestic servant and illegally harboring her for 19 years in their Brookfield, Wis., residence. Read more…

If this is an emergency and you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking and needs assistance, please call 911 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. The National Hotline is open 24 hours a day and will connect you to help locally. You can also text “be free” to 233733.

Visit Our Learning Library

There is hardly anything more detrimental to a movement than an uninformed ally. Our Learning Library is a growing collection of resources to help on your journey toward becoming a well-informed ally so you can join us more effectively in the fight to end human trafficking.

Check It Out!