Thanks for your continued interest in this Iowa NAHT blog post. By reaching out, you’ve taken a big step toward joining the movement to end human trafficking in Iowa. The NAHT is deeply grateful. As you know from reading these blog posts, sex trafficking is a thriving criminal industry around the world and right here in Iowa, where men, women, and children are being exploited.
Save The Date flyer for Governor’s Proclamation Signing
Governor Kim Reynolds, honorary member of the Iowa NAHT Board of Directors, will reaffirm Iowa’s dedication to fighting human trafficking by signing a proclamation declaring January Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month. Join the Governor, legislators, and the Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery (NAHT) for both the proclamation signing and the presentation of the Outstanding Anti-Trafficking Service Awards. Join us at 10:30 AM on January 16, 2020, in the Capitol Building Rotunda. Last year 250 advocates attended our day on the hill and we hope 2020 will be even bigger. Please click on the Save The Date flyer (PDF) to download a copy and help us spread the word.
Upcoming Iowa Trainings
1. Eyes Wide Open: A Human Trafficking Summit in Des Moines
Please join us for a 1-day summit, designed to supply front line professionals with updates on key topics related to advancing anti-trafficking efforts in Iowa.
Professionals in all fields – law enforcement, legislation, social care, foster care, counseling, school administration, nursing, clergy, etc. – are encouraged to come and hear more about the support available to them on the front lines of Iowa’s fight against human trafficking and slavery. CEUs offered. Register by clicking here.
2. Shedding Light on Slavery ½-Day Training in Cedar Rapids
Network board member, Lauren Camp, has organized an excellent training for November 1st. To the right is a theme flyer for this upcoming human trafficking half-day event in Cedar Rapids titled: Out of the Darkness: Shedding Light on Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking. Click on the flyer to download a copy. You may also view the training agenda and speakers by clicking here.
The event will be in the United Way Building at 317 7th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401 in the Rex Reno conference room on the second floor.
Attendance FREE and is limited to 100 attendees. Presentations will be from 1-4:15 pm. All are welcome to attend, including advocates, students, NAHT board members, and community members. CLE credits are anticipated for attorneys.
This event is sponsored by Iowa Legal Aid and the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy and will have presentations on several areas of human trafficking, including labor trafficking, trauma informed practices, civil litigation, and the law enforcement role in combating Human Trafficking.
Lila Mae’s House Announces Executive Director
Lila Mae’s House announced that Marit Westrich has been hired as the first Executive Director. Marit will lead the day-to-day operations and administrative functions of the organization as we prepare to open our doors this Fall. Lila Mae’s House’s will provide a safe, healthy environment where adult survivors of sex trafficking can rest, heal, recover and develop life skills to become empowered, independent and self-sufficient women. The house will open in November 2019.
“I am honored to be a part of an organization that focuses on restoring dignity and delivering high-quality care to those who need it most” said Westrich. “Lila Mae’s safe, supportive, and non-judgmental environment is vital for healing. Siouxland will now have a place for survivors of sex trafficking to recover and rebuild.”
Marit brings a wealth of residential living, program development and operational management experience to the position. Preceding her role as Executive Director, she led the Human Resources Department at Goosmann Law Firm. She also spent nearly a decade with Boys and Girls Home and Family Services. Inc in many roles; most notably Program Director for the youth residential program and Human Resources Director. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Bemidji State University and is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work through the University of Iowa. Located in Sioux City, Lila Mae’s House will offer 24-month, trauma-informed transitional living services to adult survivors of sex trafficking. During their stay, survivors have the opportunity to gain new job skills, continue their education, have their medical/legal/mental health needs coordinated by a case manager, and get the care necessary to build successful lives.
Contact Information: https://lilamaeshouse.org
PO Box 1281, Sioux City, IA 51102
Iowa Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Services
Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Services (TAPS) is a new statewide project operating out of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. What follows is a brief progress report from Jessie Johnson, TAPS Program Coordinator.
TAPS continues to conduct outreach throughout the state and in the past couple of weeks, we have received several referrals for assisting victims of both sex and labor trafficking. We are very excited to announce that we have hired a Case Manager who has extensive experience serving survivors of human trafficking. She will begin at the beginning of October and at that time, TAPS will begin offering direct services to clients. TAPS will send out a biography of the Case Manager and more details about her position to NAHT once she begins. Additionally, the TAPS program is receiving research assistance from a Brandeis University student, Resham Sethi. Resham will be conducting research concerning labor and labor trafficking in Iowa, with the goal of creating an economic profile of our state to better understand labor trafficking.
Dorothy’s House Fall Update
Dorothy’s House, located in Des Moines, has been operating at full capacity all year long and have seen such beautiful transformations continue. This fall they have two girls re-starting their college courses and another completing her HiSET– with many thanks to DMACC. They had one participant complete to entire Next Wise Choice curriculum we offer and another nearing completion.
Two girls had significant dental work done to complete their beautiful smiles. Thank you, Dr. Francis Nahm and the staff at Urbandale Smiles. Dorothy’s House also capped the summer off with an all-house retreat. Staff and participants enjoyed a weekend at Sun Valley lake doing team building, boating, swimming and the rodeo! A good time was had by all.
They will be breaking ground on their new home this fall. They will not only double their capacity but will allow us to begin expanding our reach, give us a proper office and many meeting, exercise and gathering spaces for healing.
If you have a special skill or gift you’d like to contribute to our new home, please reach out to Kellie at email@example.com.
Rotary Cook-Out Helps Fight Human Trafficking
The Rotary Club of West Liberty, Iowa, recently took the fight against human trafficking seriously. In fact, Rotary Clubs across Iowa are getting involved in the fight against human trafficking.
This service organization got the help of the local community and held a barbecue and human trafficking information event, raising $1,500. The proceeds were donated to the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery. Rotarian Tom Barr, chairman of the project, said local residents need to be educated about the signs of human trafficking, encouraging residents to “become part of the solution.” He said truck stops and rest stops along I-80 just north of the community are a major collection point for young victims and he noted there have been 113 people taken into the industry just last year in Iowa. He said although run-aways and homeless are easy targets for recruiters, even teens from good homes sometimes become victims through the Internet and social media.
A pair of social workers from Family Resources were also on hand at the event to help educate those attending more about human trafficking and slavery. They handed out brochures and information on a program called Braking Traffic, a program in Iowa to end human trafficking, providing community outreach and education, legislative advocacy, and comprehensive services to survivors of human trafficking.
Huge Donation to the Tri-State Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Slavery
100+ Women Who Care Dubuque has given $18,100 to the Tri – State Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Slavery. Members were overwhelmed with surprise and gratitude when the gift was announced at a presentation on September 18, 2019. Coalition member Sister Patricia Conlan, RSM, presented passionately for the funds. They will be used to create an awareness of human trafficking among elementary and senior high school students in the Dubuque Community Schools District and the Holy Family System with presentations to students, teachers, counselors and parents together. The funds will also be used to bring the film ” I Am Still Here” to the public to educate and create awareness of the trafficking of children.
Register to Walk for Freedom on October 19th and Join the Worldwide Fight for the Millions Still Enslaved
Why register to walk? Because human trafficking is robbing millions of basic human rights—freedom, dignity, worth, and value. This October is our chance to come together in strength and numbers; to fight for freedom, to walk for freedom. For the one, for the millions, for our world. On October 19th, we will unite under one thing—freedom from slavery.
Once you register at a21.org/walk, post the Walk For Freedom image to your social media accounts and tag three friends. Remind them of what unites us all and why they should walk with you. This is their chance to join you in putting an end to slavery.
Woman kidnapped on East Coast freed in Iowa
Please go to the following link to read more: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2019/09/04/amber-garrison-new-york-stuart-iowa-caseys-james-smith-jr-truck-driver-kidnapping-pennsylvania/2214748001/
Here is an invitation from Bikers Against Trafficking
At Bikers Against Trafficking (BAT), we are determined to eradicate this terrifying evil and we do so by helping men, women and children get out of the life of being trafficked–we then provide clinical trauma therapy–and finally we partner with each one as they re-engage back into the world. We provide job, life and many other skills.
The one area lacking right now (nationwide) is for housing. There are not many beds that accept survivors so at present we are actively pouring resources in establishing a home for survivors in Central Florida. It will be called “Healing Place.”
We invite you to become a part of the fight. Check out our website and follow along with us on Facebook as we take this fight to those who do such damage.
IT IS TIME WE STAND UP AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND BREAK THE CHAINS OF THOSE ENSLAVED IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING!
We are a growing organization. At present we have Chapters in Wisconsin, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arizona and others will be coming on board soon. Get involved and join us. You can start a chapter in your area, just get involved with us by getting your chapter/group or friends to do things in your area as an “affiliation entity” or by supporting us financially.
However you choose to get involved…thanks! Our website is: BikersAgainstTrafficking.org
– Doc, Founder of Bikers Against Trafficking