Local presentation addresses signs, behaviors of human trafficking victims

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Human trafficking isn't just a problem for larger cities: it impacts smaller communities like Northcentral Wisconsin as well. That was the heart of a presentation at the Marathon County Public Library in Wausau on Tuesday evening, where local law enforcement and members of The Women's Community tried to dispel myths about human trafficking.

One aspect was the way people identify human trafficking victims, including the signs they give off like bad hygiene, misbehavior, self-esteem problems and even suicidal tendencies.

Many times, victims don't report they've been victims of a crime.

"The victims don't self-identify," Brenda Bayert from The Women's Community explained. "They don't see themselves as victims. They see themselves as being responsible participants in a household or to help pay the bils."

Terry Hellrood, an attendee at the event, agreed it was an issue "we all need to be aware of. We tend to think these things don't happen in our own back yard, but apparently they do."

It's the second presentation of its sort, with the first held last June.