By Dylan Deprey
A Cry for Help founder, Bianca Williams, said not much has changed in one of the United States biggest human sex trafficking hubs.
Williams’ ears are to the streets, and even when A Cry for Help’s weekly Street Ministry take a winter hiatus, she listens. She works and supports the girls lost to abuse, fear and addiction because unlike some businesses, human sex trafficking does not take a winter break.
“It’ll be freezing out, and those girls be walking up and down,” Williams said.
Whether it be giving the coat off her back to a freezing girl working the snowy streets, or waking up at 3 a.m. to help a trafficked 13-year-old cocaine addict with several sexually transmitted diseases, she is there with open arms.
Even with human sex trafficking making headlines nationwide and several local initiatives, Williams said that after participating in her first Street Ministry of the year in mid-March, a lot of the girls haven’t changed and more had gotten even worse. The need was still very much there.
She wanted to come up with an initiative for the Spring that was unlike others that had been rolled out before, and all she had to do was look at her call-logs.
“Usually, girls would call me to check in, and they would reach her from their pimp’s phone, or borrow one from a friend or trick, and it got me thinking,” Williams said.
She listened to the girls talk about getting raped and assaulted, and she couldn’t fully facilitate the situation because by the time she heard what happened, it was too late.
“I would ask if they called the cops and reported it, and they would say they did not have a phone or were scared,” Williams said.
She realized that even when the SIM card was removed from a phone, the emergency call features were still intact. So, if a girl was in trouble, she could use the phone to get help and report it to the authorities, instead of having to wait with no shred of evidence.
“When it happens, all they have to do is call 911, and that’s all it takes,” Williams said.
A Cry for Help is kicking off, the “Calling 4 Freedom” Cellphone drive to kick off Spring 2018. The community can donate their old phones to be used as emergency devices for prostituted and human trafficked girls.
“I wanted to do something different from what everybody else was doing, and I believe donating phones could make a difference,” Williams said.
Temptations Outside and Within
Williams said she had two fears with the summer coming. One was that more Caucasian girls would continue to flock to the inner-city from across the state. The second was the severe lack of self-worth our Black girls have, because both make for easy pickings for pimps.
Pimps troll colleges and churches freely, and they look for girls. They find them online and sweet talk teens even as far as Wausau to come down and become trapped in fear and addiction.
“I try to tell them that there is not anything good on these streets,” Williams said. “But, they say their man loves them, but he don’t.”
When Williams spoke with a room full of local Black teens from the inner-city she found that when she pegged the question, would they sell themselves, only a few raised their hands. When she asked if they would sleep with a man if he bought them a new outfit, shoes and got her hair done, the entire room raised their hands.
“They need to know their self-worth,” Williams said. “It was sad to see.”
A Cry for Help Ready to Take on Summer
As events like Summerfest and the State Fair attract millions of people to Milwaukee, it is also prostitution’s peak season. When girls are being lured, trapped, prostituted and trafficked at a fairly fast rate, it is a tough task for anyone to take on.
Williams and A Cry for Help will continue to the take the fight on the streets and work day-and-night to end human sex trafficking.
“I have a lot to roll out and I want it done by May because once school gets out and it gets hot, I’m going to be really busy,” Williams said.