Network Awards

Iowa Outstanding Anti-Trafficking Service Awards

Award Purpose

Each year, the Network honors the outstanding efforts of those individual Iowans and organizations who have inspired others in the fight to end human trafficking. Eligible individuals and organizations include those who have significantly contributed to anti-trafficking public policy, education, and prevention, coalition-building, service to survivors, law enforcement and prosecution, rescue of victims, raising awareness, and advocacy. This award demonstrates how one individual or one organization can make a positive contribution to the eradication of modern day slavery.

2019 Awards

The Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery presented five 2019 Outstanding Iowa Anti-Trafficking Awards. The presentations took place at the Rotunda of the Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines, Iowa.  We partnered with Governor Kim Reynolds and Lt. Governor Greg who are pictured with each of the five honorees along with the incoming chair of the Network board, Liz Cox. The five awardees were as follows:

2018 Awards

The 2018 NAHT Outstanding Iowa Anti-Trafficking Service Awards were presented by Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg on January 17th, 2018 in the governor’s formal office at the State Capitol Building in Des Moines. In her opening remarks, the Governor stated “I want to tell you awardees how committed my administration is to joining you in your cause. This evil crime has no place in our state.” The five awardees were as follows:

The final awardee was Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. This plaque was presented by the chair of the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery, Dr. George Belitsos. For the past two years Kim Reynolds has served as an honorary NAHT board member. The governor’s support for the Network mission has been highly commendable. She has endorsed the Network’s statewide Hotel/Motel Employee Training Project and gave the network extensive media coverage by holding a September 19th 2017 press conference to announce this new initiative. That was the second time Kim Reynolds provided the Network with her administration’s weekly press conference.

Having such a high-profile anti-trafficking advocate as Governor Kim Reynolds has been a great help to getting out the Network mission and the undeniable truth that both sex and labor trafficking is in Iowa.

2017 Awardees

The first awards were presented on January 9th, 2017 by former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. In his remarks, the Governor stated that he has become convinced of the urgent need for Iowans to recognize that human trafficking does happen in Iowa and that we each need to play a role to end it. Awards were presented to the following five deserving Iowans;

Maggie Tinsman– Author of Iowa’s first anti-trafficking legislation, founder of Braking Traffic
Kevin Kinney– Author of three human trafficking legislative bills and investigator of trafficking
Chris Branstad– Advocate for Teens Against Human Trafficking and AMP
Cathy O’Keefe– Braking Traffic CEO and FBI anti-trafficking service awardee
Brad Fox– Elementary school principal who uncovered a major trafficking ring in eastern Iowa
Christi Geisler– Survivor and spokesperson for Iowa survivors

Later in 2017, two additional awards were presented by the Iowa NAHT to the following;

Luis CdeBacaLuis CdeBaca– Iowan who served as U.S. ambassador to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Mr. CdeBaca served in this role under three U.S. presidents. The Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery Outstanding Anti-trafficking Service Award was presented on October 27th, 2017 at the ISU Scheman Building during an annual ISU alumni awards event. Ambassador CdeBaca also received the ISU Alumni Humanitarian Award at the ISU merit awards ceremony. The NAHT is proud to have nominated Ambassador CdeBaca for this ISU award.

johnston-receives-certificateCity of Johnston, Iowa – The Outstanding Anti-Trafficking Service Award was presented to the city of Johnston, for becoming the first city in Iowa to adopt an ordinance to regulate massage businesses. This award was presented on September 19th 2017 during the governor’s weekly press conference. Mayor Paula Dierenfeld and Police Chief Dennis McDaniel accepted the award on behalf of the city. The NAHT has sent out a “call to action” to fight prostitution and sex trafficking that takes place in illicit massage parlors. All across Iowa, advocates and coalitions are asking their city councils to pass local ordinances similar to the City of Johnston.

How to Nominate

If you would like to nominate someone for an Iowa Outstanding Anti-Trafficking Service Award, you are asked to complete and submit a nomination form at this link. Please be aware that Ashton Kutcher has already been nominated and approved for recognition. The Network hopes to present the award when Ashton is next in central Iowa. MVE Chief David Lorenzen and Truckers Against Trafficking have also already been nominated. Send your completed nomination form at any time to