Anti-human trafficking campaign targets well-traveled stretch of I-94

Over the next few months, a heightened awareness of the dark side that also comes with the warmth and freedom of summer.

Human trafficking is an underground industry, not to mention an illegal one, booming right near the tourists hitting the open road.

And it's happening closer to home than you may think.

Women are being bought and sold from Chicago to Wisconsin and as far as North Dakota. The high season is summer and it's happening all along Interstate 94.

Now begins the fight to stop it. And you may be able to help.

Experts are now calling on average citizens as perhaps their best defense these days when it comes to spotting the crime.

This summer drivers, will see a new effort to fight human trafficking along the corridor between Illinois and Milwaukee where about 80,000 people travel every day.

Rachel Straka of the I-94 Project says the campaign is all about awareness.

“It’s best for people if they see something to say something. That's the most important part of our project.”

Experts say citizens can watch for: Women keeping their heads down and making no eye contact in public places. And men appearing dominating, controlling and even possessive.

Spotting the trafficking is one thing. Helping a women escape from it is another.

That’s where Nancy Yarbrough and her program Fresh Start Learning inc come in  Nancy was a victim of human trafficking herself and was able to leave that life behind.  The mother of five uses her own story to shine a light on the dark side of a thriving industry she is lucky to have escaped. She launched  Fresh Start Learning Inc to help other survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence.

“I was thinking about what I needed when I was out there, what kind of support systems was I looking for or should have been looking for me,” she says.

Fresh Start Inc is group integral to this summer's I-94 campaign.

The campaign runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

More information at

Fight to End Exploitation website

Polaris Project website

And the International Human Trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888