The WoMen’s Rural Advocacy Program (WRAP) focuses the majority of its effort on helping people after they have been victimized.

Funds its receives from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provide for those efforts.

However, according to Brittany Miller, a local WRAP advocate, those funds can’t be used to develop prevention programming. Yet WRAP is moving in the direction of prevention thanks to other donations it has been given.

For Miller, prevention is a key element of the process, especially as it relates to human trafficking and youth.

Yes, said Miller, human trafficking of youth in Redwood County is a reality, and it is happening more than one might ever imagine. 

Miller said WRAP offers a program for youth ages 12-18 that addresses the issues of human trafficking, adding the program is for all youth. Miller said youth can put their name on a waiting list for a presentation through WRAP, and local church, 4-H, sports, school and other groups are also encouraged to contact WRAP to find out about seeing the presentation.

Miller said she would love to be able to expand the program allowing all kids to hear it.

Statistics show youth who have been through a prevention program are far less apt to become a victim of human trafficking.

Miller said human trafficking is not reported, adding one of the reasons is that those who are victims of trafficking are set up to avoid law enforcement.

In many cases they are forced to commit other crimes, such as shoplifting or even dealing drugs, that make them believe they will get into trouble if they report.

According to Miller, those who are being trafficked typically meet online on dating apps, adding things often start small and then slowly start to escalate.

One of the areas where students are particularly susceptible is in the foster care program, said Miller, adding in many cases these youth are more vulnerable.

Miller said she believes the program being offered through WRAP is making a difference, but she added funding is a challenge.

Those who would like to help make this program available to more youth are encouraged learn more at letswrap.com.

- Image courtesy of WRAP