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by Elizabeth Nolan Brown
Wisconsin’s efforts to stop “human trafficking” largely target people selling sex, including those who are underage. A third of police surveyed in the state said they don’t differentiate between human trafficking and prostitution in crime incident reports. More than half said they have enforced prostitution laws against minors, treating them as perps rather than victims.
Under federal law, anyone under age 18 who engages in prostitution is defined as a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of whether an actual trafficker exists. But all over the country, cops continue to arrest teens for activity the law says they’re incapable of consenting to—and which most people assume law enforcement is out to save such groups from.