Recent prostitution bust is just one of many potential human tra - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Recent prostitution bust is just one of many potential human trafficking cases in Wisconsin

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Wisconsin (WKOW)-- Many people in the city of Monona are shocked to hear about a prostitution business operating right in the middle of town. On Monday night, investigators executed a search warrant of "Fei Fei Spa" in Monona and arrested two Chinese nationals for operating a business of prostitution.

Officials think the case could involve human trafficking of women. Wisconsin human trafficking experts agree that the recent case could be connected to something much greater.

"There usually is a hierarchy in these trafficking cases. What we have seen here in the western district of Wisconsin though is something that is less organized than what you might see in Chicago, Las Vegas or Los Angeles," Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Pfluger says.

Pfluger specializes in two specific types of crimes. She deals with a lot of child exploitation cases and several human trafficking cases. The issue of human trafficking has become such a concern that the Western District U.S. Attorney's Office has created a special task force in Madison. The group includes attorneys, law enforcement officers and non-profit groups who provide services to victims. The group is working together to combat the issue.

"It's the first time people have started paying attention to it on a national level or a state level and on a local level," Pfluger says.

Pfluger said she doesn't know enough about this most recent prostitution case in Monona to definitively say human trafficking was involved, but she says in most similar cases the women are coerced and manipulated into it. A new Wisconsin state law allows for women accused of prostitution to receive a clear criminal record if they can prove human trafficking was involved. The new law went into effect earlier this year.

"It does happen here. It happens in Madison. It happens in the western district of Wisconsin. It happens in the Midwest. If you don't see it, you don't know what to look for," Pfluger says.

Many of the cases that Pfluger is currently working on came about because community members notified their office. These people noticed that something wasn't right in their community and decided to speak out. Pfluger says The National Human Trafficking Resource Center receives thousands of calls every year. More than a hundred priority calls came from Wisconsin.

"You can see statistics that say anywhere from 14,500 to 50,000 women are trafficked into the United States internationally per year, and why is is such a big gap? It's such a big gap because it's really hard to measure," Pfluger says.

Anyone who thinks that human trafficking is happening in their community should call 1-888-373-7888 or text "Help" or "Info" to "BeFree" (233733).

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