Family Support Center

You deserve to live a life free from violence.

What Is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is a legal term describing the exploitation of a person, for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. When the exploitation involves a child, the elements of force, fraud, or coercion do not need to be present.

Even if someone's circumstances do meet this definition, they might use different words to talk about it: and that's OK. We believe and respect that everyone is the expert on their own lived experiences.

Human trafficking is closely linked to, and often overlaps with, other forms of violence, like domestic abuse and sexual assault.

We recognize that many people harmed by human trafficking have faced harm from systems, too.

Our services are available to all survivors, free of judgment, and with flexibility to make choices that honor their priorities.

Family Support Center rejects a hierarchy of violence and recognizes and affirms all experiences where individuals are victimized. Individuals do not need to specifically identify as survivors of trafficking, sexual assault, or domestic violence to received “priority” services. ALL survivors are our priority.

When working with survivors, we allow them to define their own experiences, and that includes their use of language. Many survivors of human trafficking and exploitation do not correlate their experience with a definition that exists. We allow for self-identification and do not require disclosures which meet any definition for qualification of services. Anyone with an experience where they feel they have been exploited are able to work with our case management program.

We believe that human trafficking is a human rights issue. One where victim-survivors are entitled to equitable assess to all resources, which are affordable, and in the way they choose. Justice looks different for everyone, and we are here to help you seek justice in the way that is right for you. We believe that human trafficking is driven by capitalist systems, poverty, and oppressive structures including, but not limited to, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia, xenophobia, and health and opportunity disparities that stem from these.

We approach every situation through a trauma-informed, survivor-lead, and empowerment-based approach. Our staff has undergone training in transformative justice and believes in supporting survivors in identifying their immediate needs, connecting them to a variety of resources based on those needs, and working alongside them to become the best version of themselves. We do not believe in eliminating or reducing someone’s trauma, but rather helping them find the tools to live with and accept their experiences, take back control over their life, and learn to live with their trauma in a way that no longer consumes their life.

We do not center ourselves as experts – everyone is the expert of their own experience, and we allow them to speak for themselves. We do not believe in rescuing or saving victim-survivors, at the extent of their own self-determination, but rather help them gain the tools and resources necessary to make decisions which are best for them. We do not assign or project our own feelings onto victim-survivors or tell them what they must do. We believe in the autonomy of those we work with and prioritize their needs and wants over anything else.

This program is paid for by 

Wisconsin’s Department of Justice Enhanced Collaborative Model Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking.

Task Force name: Wisconsin Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (WAHTTF)