Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Human Trafficking in the Heartland

Published Aug 7, 2011

MADISON — One morning, Laura woke up a little sluggish — not fast enough for her boyfriend, Michael. So he stabbed her in the calf. Eleven years later, Laura, now 30, still bears a deep, nickel-sized crater there. The two met on State Street in Madison. He took her to Albuquerque, N.M., where he used violence and psychological intimidation to coerce her to sell her body for money. Both names have been changed for Laura’s protection. Laura says she worked for three months as a prostitute for Michael, who exerted control over her…Read the rest here.

Backpage.com accused of facilitating sex trafficking

Published Sept 2, 2011

In July, police in DeKalb County, Ga., found a 15-year-old Wisconsin runaway who was allegedly forced into prostitution and was advertised online as a 25-year-old providing “adult services.” Wisconsin, however, wasn’t among the 45 states that on Wednesday accused Backpage.com, the website that published the Wisconsin girl’s advertisement, of facilitating child exploitation and sex trafficking across the nation. The state attorneys general sent a letter to Backpage.com lawyer Samuel Fifer calling the website a “hub” for human trafficking and asking for details about the company’s policies aimed at preventing the illegal activity…Read the rest here.

Articles I collaborated on:

Sand Mining Surges in Wisconsin

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Published July 31, 2011

TUNNEL CITY — Retiree Letha Webster’s voice briefly cracks when she talks about leaving the town she and her husband have called home for 56 years. But she says selling her land to an out-of-state mining company was the best move she could have made.
The 84-year old was approached in late June by a Connecticut-based company, Unimin, that planned to build a sand mine in the area and was paying a good price for houses in the way.
Webster’s struggle to maintain her home and 8.5 acres of land while caring for her husband…Read the rest here.

Analysis: Emails favored Walker 2-1

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Published March 21, 2011

Gov. Scott Walker was right: The angry crowds in Madison didn’t tell the whole story of how Wisconsinites felt. In the week after Walker announced his plan to dramatically curtail public employees’ collective bargaining rights in the state budget repair bill, a wide majority of the emails to him expressed support, an analysis of those emails indicates.
But that support was significantly boosted by emails from pro-Walker senders from outside Wisconsin….Read the rest here.

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