Human Trafficking 101

Human trafficking is here. 

This month residents of the Copper Country will have a chance to learn the facts and myths about human trafficking, learn how and why it’s happening here, and how they can identify and prevent trafficking during a series of Human Trafficking 101 events that are coming to the region. These community conversations around the topic of Human Trafficking are being hosted by President of the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force Stephanie Graef. They are free to the public with doors opening at 5:30, two-hour presentation starting at 6 and a question-and-answer session to follow. 

  • Monday, October 11 at Baraga Lakeside Inn
    900 U.S. Highway 41 South; Baraga, Michigan

  • Tuesday, October 12 at Ontonagon Theater of Performing Arts
    311. N. Steel Street; Ontonagon, Michigan

  • Wednesday, October 13 at Finnish American Heritage Center
    435 Quincy Street; Hancock, Michigan
Empty Bench in front of Lift Bridge
Empty Swings

Aerial Photo over LAnse

Lake Superior Rocks

Why Host These Events?

“We wanted to have a conversation starter about human trafficking in our community in order to create a broader awareness and understanding, to mitigate stigma and help de-criminalize the victims of these acts, and to offer ways for folks to better identify potential cases in our community in an effort to combat these horrendous acts from happening. In addition to the physical abuse that is evident and resulting from cases of human trafficking, sexual coercion and assault, we know the health consequences – including physical, emotional and mental health – are significant for the survivor.”  - Kevin Store, executive director at Portage Health Foundation

“Human trafficking is a critical human rights and health care issue in Michigan. The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation is in full support of the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force’s evidence-based training that will offer healthcare providers and community members with the tools and resources to identify and report instances of human trafficking. This effort will ensure quality, trauma-informed healthcare for victims and strengthen community support for victims of human trafficking.” -  Audrey Harvey, executive director and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation.

Does this really happen here?

Yes. Below are examples of human trafficking (exploitation for profit) that happened in Michigan's Copper Country. 

Lake Superior Rocks
  • An adult female who was sexually assaulted as a child and struggles with drug use, is forced and coerced into trading sex for drugs.

  • An adult who came here on a work visa that has now expired, was frauded out of his agreed wage, and is forced to continue to work with low or no wages in fear of being reported.

  • A Native American teen who is a runaway and or has gone missing is forced into having sex with multiple strangers a day.

For more information on Human Trafficking, visit the Polaris Project

If you are in danger, need help or to report a suspicious tip, call or text the U.P. Human Trafficking Task Force's 24-hour Helpline. 

1 (906) 299-9243

Human Trafficking 101 is presented by the following organizations:

Portage Health Foundation Logo - Color
BCBSM Foundation Logo-1
UP HUman Trafficking Task Force Logo
Dial Help