Invitation to Governor’s 2019 Proclamation Signing and Recent Iowa Anti-Trafficking News

Thursday, January 17th, 11:00 am Governor’s Proclamation Signing declaring Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month

Holiday greetings to Iowa NAHT subscribers,

We invite you to join us on Thursday, January 17th at 11:00 AM in the rotunda of the State Capitol Building in Des Moines for Governor Kim Reynold’s signing of a proclamation designating January as Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month. Five Outstanding Anti-Trafficking Service Awards will also be presented by the governor.

Angela Davis and Maggie Tinsman, co-chairs of the NAHT Legislative Advocacy Committee also invite anti-trafficking advocates from across Iowa, like you, to speak to your local legislators on January 17th. Early in the new year, they will be sharing talking points and announcing the time and process for speaking with legislators.

Teens Against Human Trafficking will also be joining us for this special January 17th Day on the Hill.

Please add January 17th to your 2019 calendar and help us to spread the word in order to get as many advocates to attend as possible. Print off or email the Day On The Hill Flyer (PDF) below to help us spread the word.


Ask your City Council now to adopt a local proclamation for January 2019

Another important request to all anti-trafficking advocates is to approach your city council or Board of Supervisors to locally declare January as Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month. A copy of an example proclamation that you could propose be adopted is found by clicking this link: Sample Proclamation

Take a photo at your local government proclamation signing and submit it for publication in your local newspaper. What a great way to create public awareness and recognition of this growing problem across Iowa and within your own home community. Please send us a copy of your photo of your local proclamation signing to

An example acceptance script to your City Council is as follows:

Good afternoon/evening. My name is ____________________________ and I am a member of the _____________ (name your regional or local anti-human trafficking agency or coalition or faith community.) On behalf of the _______________, I would like to thank Mayor _______________ and the Council for recognizing the problem of human trafficking by issuing this proclamation. The _________________ was formed with the purpose of “working toward abolishing all forms of human trafficking through education, advocacy, and collaboration.” We look forward to working with the council, the police and the many agencies and concerned local citizens of _______________________ to end trafficking in our community. Thank you.

Cedar Rapids passes Massage Business Ordinance

The Cedar Rapids Massage Business Ordinance is no longer pending – it passed!! Another great step forward that was an unexpected outcome from this process is that the Cedar Rapids Police Department and Linn County are now partnering with Chains Interrupted on a “John School.” For more information on how they did it all, contact Teresa Davidson, president, Chains Interrupted. Congratulations to Teresa and all of our allies in Cedar Rapids.

Training for Law Enforcement takes a big step forward in 2018

simbric-steffaniIn 2017, the Iowa legislature enacted legislation that supported the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in employing an instructor to provide training regarding human trafficking throughout the state. Steffani Simbric was hired in November 2017 to fulfill this role.

Steffani has advocated for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence for more than 18 years. Her career started at Friends of the Family in Waverly, Iowa where she worked as the domestic violence shelter coordinator, transitional housing program manager, and assistant director of the agency.

Subsequently, Steffani joined the Iowa State University Police Department as the Story County SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) Coordinator. In this capacity, she trained law enforcement, medical professionals, and advocates in sexual assault response. Additionally, she monitored reports of sexual assault for quality assurance, assisted with developing policies for law enforcement and health care agencies, and provided technical assistance for communities across Iowa desiring to enhance their response capabilities.

Steffani’s education includes a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Northern Iowa as well as a master’s degree in public administration from Iowa State University.

During 2018, Steffani coordinated human trafficking training for more than 1,100 professionals throughout Iowa. This includes teaching new officers in the basic academy classes at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, as well as communities throughout the state to include the communities of Marshalltown, Mason City, Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Ottumwa, Grinnell, West Liberty, Nevada and Cedar Rapids.

If you would like to secure training for your local law enforcement officers, contact Steffani at

Cyntoia Brown deserves clemency and you can help her

Cyntoia Brown has been sentenced to serve 51 years in prison for killing one of the men who imprisoned her as a sex slave. At 16, Cyntoia killed her 43-year-old “owner” in self-defense. Please read the article below for more information.

You can make a difference by calling Governor Bill Haslam’s office at (615) 741-2001 and ask for justice for Cyntoia Brown.

Major Federal Grant awarded for Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Services

During the November board meeting of the NAHT, Carly Ross informed us that a major $550,000 federal grant was recently awarded to the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants based in Des Moines. The three-year grant is titled Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Services.

This link is a one-page description of this new federally funded anti-trafficking project:  TAPS Overview (PDF)

Also, here is the web address and phone number of the committee: 515-528-7525. The NAHT is very excited to share this information with the followers of its blog and Facebook page. We congratulate Carly Ross, Executive Director of the Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.

The NAHT has pledged to assist and support the Refugee and Immigrant Committee to ensure the successful implementation of this important new anti-trafficking service.

U.S. Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, under scrutiny for the sweetheart deal he gave a sex trafficking pedophile

Resources for Direct Service Providers

The material below may be helpful to those of you working more directly with victims and survivors of trafficking, This link is from the National Human Trafficking Training and Assistance Center (NHTTAC) and is for “Recommendations for Services to Survivors With Co-Occurring Disorders”.

The U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services’ 1.5 day symposium on Health and Human Trafficking is also available on You Tube at

Human Trafficking Events in Clinton, Iowa

In observance of Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month, our allies at the Franciscan Peace Center in Clinton and Dubuque, Iowa are working to have a movie and panel discussion at the Clinton Community College on the evening of January 17th. They will show the YouTube video “Oblivious” They are working to have a movie and panel discussion at Clinton Community College on Jan. 17th.

They have also trained 16 volunteers in Clinton to train hotel and motel employees to recognize and report human trafficking. In Davenport and Dubuque, 16 others have also been trained. In Clinton, there will be a news conference on Jan. 9th declaring that the hotel training will take place and why it’s important. The Clinton mayor, chief of police, County Attorney, and other community leaders have agreed to be present and the Mayor and the Sisters of St. Francis President will speak. Their goal is to get all hotels and motels in Clinton trained in 2019.

Des Moines will begin to regulate massage therapists

The capital city’s ordinance states that businesses must have a massage therapy license or cease operation. Unlike some other cities, Des Moines opted not to make massage parlors and spas pay for a license from the city because they didn’t want to place an extra burden on the already-licensed businesses operating legally. Read more here.


The NAHT thanks all of you for your support in our goal to end human trafficking in all its forms in Iowa. We wish you a joy filled and blessed holiday season and a Happy New Year, 2019.