August 2018 Anti-Trafficking News

There continues to be a lot of anti-trafficking news here in Iowa. Today’s blog post will help keep you up to date. If you have anti-trafficking news, events, trainings, meetings, or resources to share across Iowa, please send to gbelitsos55@gmail.com.

  1. Gretchen-Brown-WaechThe Iowa Attorney General’s office has announced the appointment of Gretchen Brown-Waech as their new Human Trafficking Coordinator. The former coordinator, Celine Villongcos, has departed Iowa to take a new job in New York City as the Policy Analyst with the Council of State Governments Justice Center. Gretchen can be reached at gretchen.brown-waech@ag.iowa.gov. Gretchen Brown-Waech was the founding Executive Director of what was then known as Deaf Women of Iowa Against Abuse – now Deaf Iowans Against Abuse (DWIAA –DIAA) for seven years. She also served as Interim Co-Administrator of the Ames DV/SA program (ACCESS) for almost a year, handling HR, budgeting and finance responsibilities. She has also conducted outreach and training across the state about the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community and worked with “mainstream” victim service providers to help ensure they were properly equipped to serve survivors from this community. Gretchen Brown-Waech also served as Executive Director for the Justice for Deaf Victims National Coalition for a year following her tenure with DIAA, providing technical assistance on organizational development to 19 organizations nationwide.
  2. Freedom Restoration Home in Pella, a Christian, Faith-based ministry, has purchased a facility. For an update or to make a donation go to www.freedomhouseministry.org.
  3. Eastern Iowa Hotel/Motel “training of trainers” will take place on Thursday, September 6th from 4-8pm at the Sisters of St. Francis Canticle, 841 13th Avenue N., Clinton Iowa. Dinner will be provided and volunteers can RSVP to 563-242-7611. This will launch the eastern Iowa Hotel/Motel Employee Training Project. Each trained volunteer must train at least three hotels/motels. All training is conducted by two volunteers. One serves as an ambassador and the other as a trainer. Interested volunteers from eastern Iowa are needed.
  4. A revised NAHT poster/handout on labor trafficking is ready to be downloaded free for your use. Click here to download: Slave Job Specificaitons (PDF)
  5. iowa-state-capitolThe Iowa NAHT is developing its legislative priorities for the 2019 Iowa Legislature. We are soliciting your feedback, especially on the top 3 priorities. Here is a link to our proposed legislative priorities: Legislation endorsed and encouraged for passage 2019
  6. The 2018 Victim Justice Symposium will take place September 11-12 in Des Moines. There will be several speakers on human trafficking including a survivor. For a poster and registration info, click here:  Victim Justice Symposium Flyer (PDF)
  7. Shared Hope International has announced the launch of CHARLI, Shared Hope International’s interactive online platform for webinars and self-paced training, delivering collaboration, advocacy, resources, and learning on juvenile sex trafficking.
    They have released the first two CHARLI Courses, Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking 101 and i:CARE! For more info go to https://sharedhope.org/what-we-do/prevent/charli-training/.
  8. red-sand-projectA Red Sand Project event was recently held in Marshalltown (see photo.) This is a great trafficking awareness project and the NAHT encourages your church, community coalition, or student group to consider. For more information go to https://redsandproject.org/.
  9. WOI radio recently had an hour long interview on River to River about Human Trafficking. Two of our NAHT board members, Stephen O’Meara and Sister Shirley Fineran were part of this broadcast. In case you missed it, this is an excellent radio program. Here is a link to the article about the show, which has a link to the recording as well. River to River, Iowa Public Radio
  10. The Human Trafficking Legal Center in Washington D.C. has given permission to share a letter and documentation on 14 U.S. Attorney federal criminal trafficking cases charged in Iowa. A chart of these 14 cases and the charging documents are included. The Center’s question about the lack of restitution is currently being addressed by the NAHT in discussions with the Iowa Southern District of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. This federal office is aggressively pursuing trafficking in Iowa and has a new Des Moines case with seven defendants (traffickers). To download the chart and all 14 case documents, visit our 14 Iowa Cases page.
  11. The Survivor Services Collaboration met on August 7th in Ames (see photo). The next meeting is Tuesday, October 9th. For more information, contact Joy Fopma, chair of the Collaboration at wingsofrefuge.ia@gmail.com.
  12. ICE Targeting Sex Workers for Deportation: Village Voice Report
  13. Hospitals Gear New Diagnosis-Human Trafficking
  14. Iowa Human Trafficking Facts
  15. Outraged By Kids In Cages? Look At Our Entire Juvenile Justice System
  16. What’s behind claims of reports about a rash of missing persons in Iowa?
  17. In Iowa, 48 juveniles have gone missing this month. Here’s why that number might be misleading.
  18. Iowa DPS: 48 people missing in Iowa in last 10 days
  19. Will a new Coralville permit system stop human trafficking in phony massage parlors?
  20. After Mollie Tibbetts’ disappearance, authorities see rush of scary Facebook posts
  21. A Victim of Sex Trafficking, Blessing Okoedion, Now Works to Save Others