For most people who hear the term “human trafficking,” it’s likely your mind drifts to one of the three Liam Neeson movies where his daughter or his wife travels to a foreign country, is targeted by scary dudes with accents and guns, and then sold into slavery for incredibly rich prices.
While those scenarios (minus the whole dad who happens to be ex-FBI and blows up entire countries to save your life) do happen, human trafficking is so much more than what we see in the movies.
It’s not limited to places overseas, and even worse—it’s happening in our own backyards.
Wisconsin authorities say that the I-94 corridor between Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Chicago, Illinois, is becoming a major stomping ground for human trafficking. The highway—like so many others in our country—is a route that leads to a variety of destinations.
A young woman named Haley Oscar experienced this first-hand while simply laying out on the beach near the Kenosha lighthouse.
That’s when a stranger approached her and made himself a little too comfortable before hounding her with bizarre questions.
“About my credit score, where I live, if I’m financially secure and have people who love me,” she said. “He asked why I was alone and how far away I live. Then things got more inappropriate, and he started asking me sexual questions and commented that since I have tattoos, I must like pain. I just kept telling him that I was studying, and to please leave me alone. At one point I told him I was uncomfortable, but he just continued to sit right next to me.”
Speaking candidly here—as a young woman in my 20s like Haley, this is literally what my worst nightmares are made of.
After 40 minutes of the man’s relentless and downright creepy “conversation,” Haley finally got ahold of some friends via text message.
She wrote on Facebook:
“I obviously didn’t answer these questions, I ignored him and kept asking him to leave me alone.”
She says she was “terrified” to stand up and go to her car because it’s a lot easier to grab someone standing up than it is when they’re laying down. Haley also didn’t want him to know what car she drove, or somehow follow her home.
The middle-aged man told Haley he was from Waukegan, Illinois. But he spoke very broken English.
“I’m almost 99% sure he was a sex trafficker based on the questions he was asking me.”
When her friend Mandi called to tell her she was on the way, the man finally left.
“The second she called he practically ran away.”