Iowa Anti-Slavery Training, Conferences, and Events

May 21 Human Trafficking Conference for Healthcare Providers

human-trafficking-what-hospitals-need-to-knowTeresa Davidson has announced the next conference on “Breaking the Chains of Human Trafficking: What Hospitals Need to Know.” It will be held on May 21st, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, in the Hallagan Education Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as well as presented live-stream through WebEx.

Tap here to download a poster with all the details (PDF).

If you wish to attend this conference via live-stream, there are two options:

  1. Attend it on your own (register here).
  2. Proctor an event at your hospital, allowing others to join the conference. Tap here to open “Proctor Responsibilities” (PDF).

Six Upcoming Film Dates for Gridshock

It was standing room only last week at the Ames showing of Gridshock. Close to 800 attended the film shown on the ISU campus. Thirteen hundred attended the film premier at the Des Moines Civic Center. Following each showing of the 55-minute film, Vanessa McNeal (the filmmaker) lead a panel discussion and Q&A.

Gridshock is a documentary exposing the hidden and disturbing reality behind sex trafficking in Iowa and the often overlooked reality about why the industry thrives—because there is a demand for it. Vanessa McNeal’s film features survivors of sex trafficking, local and federal law enforcement, advocates, politicians, and a recovering sex addict. What you think you know about sex trafficking will be challenged.

Two of the three Iowa survivors interviewed in the film were lured into trafficking at the age of 16, and the third at 18 after leaving for college in Northwest Iowa. Karen Gale, FBI Victim Specialist, Mike Ferjak, YSS Trafficking Consultant, Ruth Buckels, Teens Against Trafficking, Maggie Tinsman, Iowa NAHT Board Member, Kevin Kenny, Iowa Legislator, and Teresa Davidson, founder of Chains Interrupted, are among the 12 trafficking experts to speak in the film.

There are six more dates and places to see the documentary as follows:

  1. April 15 – Lang Auditorium – University of Northern Iowa – 6:00 PM
  2. April 18 – Figge Museum – Davenport, Iowa – 6:00 PM
  3. April 25 – Hotel Julien Ballroom – Dubuque International Film Festival – 3:15 PM
  4. April 27 – Five Flags Orpheum – Dubuque International Film Festival – 6:15 PM
  5. May 2 – Main Lounge – University of Iowa – 6:00 PM
  6. May 7 – Film Scene – Iowa City, Iowa – 6:30 PM

For more information and details, go to

For a Des Moines Register columnist article by Vanessa McNeal entitleD “Sex Trafficking is pervasive, even in Iowa,” tap the link here:

Hamilton County Mental Health and Trafficking Conference

A Hamilton County Mental Health and Trafficking Conference will be held on Friday, May 17th, from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. The keynote address on Human Trafficking will be given by Ruth Buckels and her daughter who is a survivor. This is such an important topic and one that is new to many in North Central Iowa. There will be a lunch served at noon. The conference will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church 1229 Kathy Lane. YSS will be offering CEUs for CADC as well as social work.

For more information, contact Jane Adams at

9,380 Kids Identified

Thorn and its leader, Ashton Kutcher, recently shared some good news. With the growth of Spotlight, and the dedication of law enforcement, Thorn has helped identify 31,197 victims of human trafficking and 10,496 traffickers to date. 9,380 of these victims were kids — that’s more than 8 identified per day.

To top it off, Spotlight is giving investigators more time to find more victims, with daily users reporting a 63% time savings in their process. The success of Spotlight would not be possible without the countless hours that investigators spend looking for our children. Tap this link for a breakdown of the data and more information on Spotlight.

Southwest Iowa Coalition On Human Trafficking Conference

The Southwest Iowa Coalition On Human Trafficking held its first conference on March 20, 2019. Nearly one hundred people attended this well organized conference led by Iowa NAHT board member, Katie Kyker.

The conference, entitled “A Look At Human Trafficking In Iowa,” was held at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The $25 registration fee was supplemented by the following sponsors: Iowa Western, Rotary District 5650, Full Circle Therapy, and the Pottawattamie County Attorney’s Office.

scaht-conferenceBelow are some of the conference topics and speakers

  1. Opening Remarks – Mayor Matt Walsh
  2. Human Trafficking 101 – Jill Ferguson and Carrie Potter
  3. Human Trafficking 201 – Jen Tran
  4. Identifying Sex Trafficking – Stephen Patrick O’Meara
  5. Professional Interactions with Survivors of Human Trafficking – John Focht and Sarah McGinnis
  6. Victim Advocacy – Jennifer Alvarez
  7. Trauma Informed Care Panel

Siouxland Coalition Against Human Trafficking (SCAHT) Progress Report

Once you read this 2018 progress report below, you will realize that SCAHT is the highest functioning and most effective regional coalition in Iowa!

Throughout 2018 SCAHT gave human trafficking presentations to 66 groups. Many of these were small community or Church groups or businesses, although there were larger groups, including classes and educator trainings. SCAHT estimates that they reached 2,695 people through these 2018 presentations.

Last year SCAHT also partnered with the Set Me Free Project to give presentations to health classes at West High in Sioux City, the entire student body at West Monona High School, and to adult community members in Onawa and educators in Sioux City.

SCAHT worked with a group of people from the Dakota County Connections group who were concerned about human trafficking. That interest has turned into a group in South Sioux City called REACT (Response, Education, Awareness, Caring, Teamwork).

SCAHT continued its active Board involvement with the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery. SCAHT also attend regular meetings of the Siouxland Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition, the Nebraska Tribal Coalition to End Family Violence, and REACT.

SCAHT has been working closely with the Sioux City Police Dept. to address human trafficking. They were helpful in getting the SCPD to invite an educator from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy to do a training in Sioux City for area law enforcement and others.

In addition to the HT Summit, SCAHT had display tables at the Siouxland Multicultural Fair, the Woodbury County Fair, the Girls’ Incorporated’s Health Fair, another health fair at Girls’ Inc sponsored by Unity Point, the Neighborhood Watch’s Family Fun Night, during a West High Parent-Teacher Conference, the Onawa Set Me Free Presentation, and the Sioux City Educators’ Personal Development Day.

TSCAHT began a prayer group that meets monthly to pray for human trafficking victims, survivors, and perpetrators and for protection, prevention, and an end to human trafficking.

SCAHT applied for a grant from the Sioux City Junior League asking for both funds and volunteers to get their Hotel/Motel Employee Awareness & Training Project off the ground. They received the grant – and approximately 40 volunteers have been trained and are doing trainings in hotels and motels in the tri-state area.

January 2019 was National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention month. Again this year, SCAHT asked local governments to issue a Proclamation of January as such. This was done by the cities of Sioux City, IA, and South Sioux City, NE, and by Monona and Woodbury Counties in Iowa, Dakota County in Nebraska, and Union County in South Dakota.

SCAHT had a display in the South Sioux City (NE) library, their co-chair was on KSCJ radio to talk about human trafficking, and they arranged and provided a training on human trafficking to staff at Jackson Recovery.

Accelerate Your Efforts to End and Prevent Human Trafficking in Your Community in 2019

Are you working to develop a comprehensive, collaborative anti-trafficking strategy in your community? Accelerate your timeline and impact with resources, tools, and support in 2019 through the Engage TogetherⓇ Project. This transformational new resource for communities will be introduced at a national training from June 6th to June 8th. Tap here for details

Half a million rank-and-file Marriott employees are now watching for sex traffickers: Tap here

LAWC expanding online awareness campaign: Tap here

Pope warns against complicity in trafficking, a ‘crime against humanity’: Tap here