By Joe Bachman
STEVENS POINT — Joining the fight against human trafficking can be as easy as getting some ink.
This Sunday, Tattoos for Triumph will host a fundraiser for human trafficking recovery awareness. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, since 2007, 482 trafficking victims through 1,409 calls were reported in Wisconsin alone. Nationally, that number jumps to over 40,000 victims.
According to event organizer Ally Burke, who is originally from Chile — a nation that sees similar high numbers of trafficking — the sole purpose of this fundraiser goes beyond just getting a tattoo.
“Men and women who are being trafficked actually get branded at tattoo shops — their pimps take them to tattoo parlors and brand them,” said Burke, whose husband is a tattoo artist of 12 years. “For me it’s educating our community; educating our police departments, and having everyone on-board without it being such a taboo subject.”
Burke is no stranger to holding tattoo benefits for families in need, but wanted to take that to another level by promoting a cause. Burke started the journey of calling tattoo shops around the area, where many were taken aback by the fact that so many trafficking victims become tattooed against their will. This event seeks to educate as many as possible on such a harsh reality, and ways they can combat it.
For only $30, anyone over the age of 18 can get a tattoo, with the proceeds going towards the fight against human trafficking. Tattoos must not be larger than a business card, and can’t be too detailed. For those who do not want a permanent stamp but still want to participate, henna booths will be available for the same cause.
Those who attend who do not want a tattoo, permanent or not, can still enjoy other activities lined up for the event. Speakers will include Lisa, the founder of Damascus Road, Sarah D’Acquisto, who worked in law enforcement in human trafficking, as well as a survivor of human trafficking. Massage tables will be waiting, as well, courtesy of Amy Karpinski of Peaceful Mind, Sarah Jean of Sarahjea Well-Being, and Dylana Mass of Hands of the Healer.
“All donations are welcome,” said Burke. “If you’re not coming for anything specific we kindly ask to make any kind of donation, if they can — but the education is what’s key.”
Information booths, churches, outreach centers, a photo-booth, DJ, and even live karaoke will be a part of this educational, fun, yet important event.
The event will be held at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center, 1001 Amber Ave. on Jan. 21, from 10AM – 5PM. For more information, check out their Facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/144296609611706/