BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) — The Brown County Sheriff’s Office believes a missing teen could be a victim of human trafficking.
Kasey M. Vang, 15, has been missing since Thursday, Jan. 11.
Vang was last seen with her younger sister near Milwaukee on Saturday, Jan. 13, according to investigators.
Investigators believe Kasey Vang is a victim of human trafficking by an unknown man.
“They weren’t necessarily kidnapped or taken. We believe that they possibly knew this individual through some means, and went with him down to that area,” says Lt. Jim Valley, Brown County Sheriff’s Office.
The sister returned home to Bellevue and is speaking with investigators.
Multiple investigators are on the case.
“We’re currently working on different leads of associations of the girls, and any other individuals involved with them,” Valley said.
The girl’s family is pleading for Kasey to be returned home.
“Everybody’s helping out, everybody’s cooperating. I think everybody wants a good resolution. There are other family members who are helping us too, and they’re pleading out, to her, through I guess public means, to just come home and make sure you’re OK,” Valley said.
Shelby Mitchell is an advocate for victims of sex trafficking at the Sexual Assault Center of Family Services in Green Bay. She says worried parents should watch for signs of change in their children.
“What you really want to do is just pay attention to that child. Little things like if their behavior is changing, their group of friends have changed. Meeting with people that they don’t typically do, that that’s not their group of friends,” Mitchell says.
She says traffickers often try to groom children by purchasing them gifts.
“It really depends on the approach of the trafficker. Everyone does it a little bit different. But I would just say one of the biggest things is, over time that grooming process that goes on. So having them buy things for your child, taking them out to dinner, or getting their hair or nails done. Things like that,” Mitchell says.
Mitchell says don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions.
“Do they have new items that you know that they wouldn’t be able to afford? Or going to parties that they never attended before? Those kind of things,” Mitchell says.
“It can happen to anyone. It really doesn’t matter your background, how old you are, race, how much your family makes. It really does affect anyone,” Mitchell says.
The traffickers know how to prey on a victim’s vulnerability.
“It’s also just the attention that they’re receiving attention from someone that is paying attention. It’s especially, if you feel you don’t have a solid group of friends or someone that you could talk to. And then all of the sudden you do have this people, or group of people in your life that is listening to you or taking you to do things, that can be very alluring to people,” Mitchell says.
If you have any information on Kasey Vang or any victim of human trafficking, contact your local law enforcement.