Governor Signs HF731 And Anti-Trafficking Updates From Across Iowa

Governor Signs Important Legislative Bill

Great news! Last Wednesday, May 8th, Governor Kim Reynolds signed HF731, the Mandatory Reporter Training and Certification bill. The signing was attended by board members of the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery and Prevent Child Abuse Iowa.

HF731-signing

With over 400,000 mandatory reporters in Iowa, the new law strengthens required training and will include improved information on how to recognize child and teen sex abuse and trafficking. Child abuse victims are vulnerable to depression, suicide, substance abuse, and grooming by traffickers.

The Mandatory Reporter and Training bill was the Iowa NAHT’s top 2019 legislative priority. Unfortunately, none of the other 17 human trafficking related bills made it through the 2019 legislature and to the governor’s desk. However, three of the 17 bills did make it through the second funnel and will hopefully be taken up in 2020. The three bills follow:

  1. SF267 (SSB 1037) and HF 479 – An act related to the practice of massage therapy, which provides criminal penalties for those who practice without a license. An amendment was offered to exclude sex trafficked victims from prosecution.
  2. HSB 26, SF 487, (SF 92, SSB 1054) – An act expanding the period of time to bring criminal actions for sexual offences against a minor.
  3. HF 642 (HF 435) – An act relating to the release of certain confidential human trafficking client related information by the department of human services to multidisciplinary teams within other state agencies.

Update from the ISU Student Network against human trafficking

The Iowa State University Student Network Against Human Trafficking ended their spring semester with election of officers for next year. The photo below, from left to right, is Sia Turner the retiring president, Emma Clanin, a sophomore at ISU who will soon serve as vice president, Josie Rodriguez, an ISU junior who will now serve as president, and Kara Johnson retiring vice president. Dr. Alyssa Stoehr (not pictured) is the club faculty advisor and also is a member of the Iowa NAHT Board of Directors.

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The ISU student network was founded back in 2014 and is an official ISU club with funding provided by the government of the student body. This club exemplifies how college students can meaningfully contribute to Iowa’s fight to end human trafficking and slavery. The club meets monthly and has an email list of 70 students. They often have off campus speakers at their monthly meetings.

From the outset, the goal of the club has been to raise awareness. They recently cosponsored the documentary film Gridshock, which was shown at ISU and attended by nearly 800 students and Ames community members. They took this opportunity to set up a joint information table with the Iowa NAHT in order to recruit new student club members.

Last semester they held a supply drive to benefit Wings of Refuge which recently opened a facility in Ames for trafficked women survivors. The club also recently hosted a self-defense class. They are currently finishing up the distribution of 400 human trafficking rescue stickers in both Ames and on the ISU campus.

On April 9, 2019, several members of the club attended a special meeting of the Ames City Council in order to discuss the problem of sex trafficking in illicit massage businesses. The club president spoke in favor of an ordinance along with a representative from the Iowa NAHT Board of Directors. The club had also prepared a student petition in favor of and ordinance. Fifteen people spoke at the 1 1/2 hour hearing before the Ames City Council and all spoke in favor of an ordinance including eight massage therapists. The council voted unanimously to ask the City attorney to draft a massage ordinance for Ames.

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Audience at the Ames City Council special workshop on human trafficking.

The ISU students have had many more accomplishments in the past 5 years and the club intends to keep that momentum going in the future. They have clearly defined goals for next year. Their larger goals include expanding membership, recruiting student volunteers to distribute rescue stickers, report suspected trafficking, assist other universities to start similar clubs, having more awareness events, giving educational presentations, partnering with other clubs on campus, and staying well-organized with strong leadership.

This club has made great strides in increasing student awareness and knowledge about human trafficking within the ISU community and Iowa itself. There are a lot of ways that students can get involved and they want to encourage students at other universities to start their own club and to affiliate with the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery. The ISU club will offer all of the support they can to anyone who wants to get started in creating a student organization to join the fight. They also invite anyone who would like to stay updated on events to like them on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/isu.naht/.

Praying for Iowa’s fight to end Trafficking

A faith-based central Iowa non-profit named Faithful Envoy is offering to fundraise for organizations in the fight against human trafficking. They also spread awareness at community events such as parades and fairs, conferences, and are developing a 6-week class on the topic of human trafficking to implement in community groups like churches, colleges and bars.

Existing to support organizations in the fight against human trafficking, Faithful Envoy wants to help any way possible. They have put on fundraising events for Jericho Outreach Ministry, Love Justice, Beads Unbound, and Dorothy’s House. Last year, the helped Garden Gate Ranch with their Gala and helped Jericho with their Christmas bags.

For more information contact Madelyn Plain: madelyn@faithfulenvoy.org.

The Tri-state Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Slavery – Dubuque, Iowa

The Tri-State Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Slavery is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit faith-based organization serving Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois that engages in education and advocacy in an effort to eradicate the demand for human trafficking. Members of the Tri-State Coalition are also affiliated with the United States Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking.

Members collaborate with many other local, state, and national organizations who are also working to spread awareness of modern day slavery. Those organizations include the State Attorney General’s Office, the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking (NAHT), the Iowa Department of Public Safety, local and state Mental Health Facilities, NAMI, Law Enforcement, the Dubuque Drug Task Force, and many others.

Trainings against human trafficking are offered to employees in hotels and motels. They participate in regional educational and health conferences, i.e. Nursing Symposiums and Trainings on Human Trafficking. The Tri-State Coalition makes referrals to direct service providers. They are all about respecting and/or helping to restore the dignity of each survivor.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
To learn more about the Tri-State Coalition or to schedule a presentation on human trafficking send an email to:
Mary Lechtenberg, OSF; Sister of St. Francis; Chair of the Tri-State Coalition
Email: tscaht@gmail.com
Phone Number: 563-583-9786

Break the Cycle 200 Mile Iowa Ride Scheduled for June 28th, 2019

The Iowa Break The Cycle 200: Okoboji (BTC 200) uses a one day – two hundred mile ride and run relay to create awareness and raise funds to help those caught in the horrible reality of human trafficking in the U.S. and around the World.

They are a group who are crazy enough to complete 200 miles in one day in order to reduce, recover, and restore human trafficking survivors. Because of this, Break The Cycle 200 is not just a fun ride and run, but an opportunity to raise funds to help others. They ask that each rider raise a minimum of $500 and every dollar raised will go straight to help break the cycle of human trafficking. In addition, they provide resources and a way to raise your money online. Last year, Break The Cycle 200 raised over $100,000.

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For more information or to participate, go to their website https://breakthecycle200.com/.

More Photos of Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention & Awareness Proclamation Signings

This proclamation signing took place at the Rock Island County Board of Supervisors meeting in Illinois.

rock-island-proclamation-signing

The following is a comment from Lorena Weppler on the signing of a proclamation at an Oxford City Council: “So happy to be a part of this organization, so that I show support for the survivors of this heinous crime. My goal is to work with survivors of this crime when I have completed my MSW/Law degree in three years.”

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The Inaugural International Conference on Human Trafficking Research (ICHTR)

The Inaugural International Conference on Human Trafficking Research will be held from May 28th to May 30th on the campus of Creighton University. For details, tap the following link: https://mailchi.mp/c9d5959729a3/htilabs-ichtr-conference-2019

How to Keep Your Kids Safe from Online Traffickers

There is an important piece of information the NAHT wants to share with you. The link below is an excellent booklet which Shared Hope International offers for free download on how predators lure kids online. It says it’s for parents, but the information is good for all anti-trafficking allies to know. The booklet with graphics and pictures can be found at How to Keep Your Kids Safe (PDF).

Iowa Newspaper Articles

The seedy world of illicit Quad-City massage parlors

Ames massage therapists fight back against trafficking

Bettendorf Iowa is 17th City to Pass Massage Ordinance (PDF)