By Karen Stokes
Monday kicked off the fifth annual HEMAD campaign. HEMAD (Human trafficking Educators working with Men and boys to stand Against the Demand) asks men to take a public stand against human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of adults and children.
HEMAD is a program of the Convergence Resource Center, which is a nonprofit that provides support for women rebuilding their lives after experiencing trauma.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, Human traffickers are in it for the money, with estimated annual global profits of $150 billion. They victimize an estimated 25 million people worldwide, with 80% in forced labor and 20% in sex trafficking. Adults and children, U.S. citizens and noncitizens.
“We’re supporting the efforts of HEMAD to get men to step up and be part of the solution,” said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “That’s one of the things that is most important about this event, not only are we seeing women stepping up, we are seeing men stepping up.”
Organizers hope 75,000 men will take the HEMAD pledge this year.
In 2018, 3,000 men took the pledge. The next year (2019), nearly 40,000 men in 11 states and two foreign countries took the pledge thanks to social media. Nearly 60,000 took the pledge in 2020 and 2021 despite the pandemic.
Statistics show that human trafficking exists in urban, suburban, and rural areas in Wisconsin.
Officials said most buyers and sellers in human trafficking are men and it affects all 72 counties in Wisconsin.
A Proclamation introduced by Mayor Johnson proclaimed that Monday, November 21 through Friday, November 25, 2022 as HEMAD campaign against human trafficking week in the entire city of Milwaukee.
To learn more about HEMAD and how you can pledge your support, call (414) 979-0591 or visit www.convergenceresource.org.