Many residents of Wisconsin think of it as an agricultural state where major crime doesn’t exist, but exploring our state history reveals many things most people would not want to admit. References to prostitution are found in Milwaukee newspapers (1) two years after Wisconsin became a state in 1848 revealing that the state was actually a significant hub from the start for what we know as sex trafficking. Bonnie Ripp-Shucha writes that Eau Claire, a center for logging and mining, was also known for brothels every 100 to 150 feet along it’s main thoroughfare. The local workforce, mostly single men with money but no real to way to use it spent it at the brothels. Recruiters for the women in the brothels were “madams” from Chicago or Minneapolis enticing young women with empty promises of an affluent lifestyle. Those recruited found themselves more likely beaten into selling themselves to the men of the camps. Law enforcement did not take much action and legal penalties were uselessly minimal. (2)
History does not have to repeat itself… let’s DEMAND ABOLITION, WISCONSIN!
(1) Online Encyclopedia of Milwaukee, https://emke.uwm.edu/entry/prostitution/, accessed 10 April 2022.
(2) Bonnie Ripp-Shucha, “’This Naughty, Naughty City’: Prostitution In Eau Claire From The Frontier To The Progressive Era”, Wisconsin Magazine of Historical Archives, 1997, pp 33