OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV)- Tuesday is National Human Trafficking Awareness day.
For one organization in Oshkosh, everyday is human trafficking awareness day to them. Damascus Road advocates for and helps victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in the Fox Cities and Oshkosh area.
The organization is named after a story from the Bible where the apostle Paul has a dramatic conversion to the Christian faith while walking on Damascus Road. Officials from Damascus Road in Oshkosh say they want people to know that it’s never too late to change your life around like Paul did in the story.
“We want to tell them that their life doesn’t have to be like that anymore we are helping them on a journey to a new life,” says Terra Koslowski who is the outreach director for Damascus Road.
Since 2017, Damascus Road has assisted 440 women who have been victims of human trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation. The organization was founded in 2009.
On Monday, she’s led a presentation educating the public on warning signs that human trafficking is happening around them. After the presentation, Koslowski and others took to the streets of downtown Oshkosh to raise awareness about their cause.
Everybody held up signs as cars and trucks honked as they drove by.
“This is not a political anything, this is a human problem,” says Robert Demler who attended the rally on Monday.
There were also survivors who attended the rally. Samantha Martin says she is a survivor of sexual exploitation at the hands of the sex industry which she entered when she was a teenager.
“To raise awareness and to find women who are struggling with human trafficking or sexual exploitation that they aren’t alone and there are people here to help them,” says Martin.
“Often their pimps tell them that nobody is going to love you like I do, this shows them that this isn’t true there are people who love and care for them,” says Koslowski.
The location of the rally right in the middle of downtown Oshkosh is a grim reminder that human trafficking can happen anywhere.
Human trafficking generates about $150.2 billion in illegal profits each year.