January 16th Proclamation Signing and 2020 NAHT Legislative Priorities

The Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery thanks all of you for your support of 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, 2020.

End of Year Request For Your Help

Holiday greetings to our Iowa NAHT blog subscribers. Worldwide there are at least 40 million people trafficked and enslaved. One in four of these exploited and abused souls is under the age of 18. According to the Trafficking in Persons Report issued by the US State Department, the number of victims assisted this year was a mere 66,500, over 10,000 less than the 77,823 assisted the year before. These survivors represent only 0.16% of the total number of people estimated to be enslaved and trafficked worldwide. Obviously, we anti-trafficking advocates have a huge challenge ahead of us.

So how can you as an individual help in the fight against human trafficking and slavery? As a first step, you can educate yourself about modern-day slavery and help others to become aware of the problem. You can insist that businesses check their supply chains for slavery produced goods. This is an especially good time to do this with holiday shopping reaching a peak these next 2 weeks. You can donate funds to anti-trafficking organizations such as the Iowa NAHT. If you have not responded to our annual Giving Tuesday fundraising appeal now would be a very good time to show your support. Please go to https://iowanaht.org/donate-now.

You can also urge your political representatives to promote and/or strengthen anti-trafficking laws. Anti-trafficking Day on the Hill will soon be upon us and will provide you with a great opportunity to join forces with the NAHT board and other allies from across Iowa.

Governor’s Proclamation Signing Declaring Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month

We invite you to join us on Thursday, January 16th at 11:00 a.m. in the Rotunda of the State Capitol Building in Des Moines for the public signing of a proclamation by Governor Kim Reynolds designating January 2020 as Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month.

Day-on-the-Hill-Flyer-2020-Final-VersionSpeakers will also address progress made in the fight to end trafficking in Iowa. Outstanding Anti-Trafficking Service Awards will be presented. Following this kickoff event, anti-trafficking advocates from across Iowa, like you, are invited to Senate Room 116 for the annual meeting of the NAHT Board of Directors. You will hear progress reports from several state agencies and statewide anti-trafficking projects.

Please plan to join us and help us spread the word in order to get as many advocates as possible to attend on Thursday, January 16th.

Ask Your City Council Now to Adopt a Local Proclamation for January 2020

Another important request to all Iowa anti-trafficking advocates is to approach your city council or board of supervisors about locally declaring January as Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month. A copy of an example proclamation that you could propose to 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 administrator@iowanaht.org.

An example acceptance script to your city council is found by clicking this link: Sample Script

2020 NAHT Legislation Priorities

The Iowa NAHT Legislative Advocacy Committee is co-chaired by Maggie Tinsman and Jonathan Causey. The committee has developed the following priorities for 2020.

  1. The NAHT asks the Legislature to pass the Hotel/Motel Training Bill (HF455). The bill requires the Department of Public Safety to oversee the administration of the training program in relation to hotels meeting training requirements as a condition to receive Iowa government contracts. In other words, if the hotel had no human trafficking awareness training, state employees could not stay at that hotel.
  2. The NAHT asks the Iowa Legislature to adopt a “Safe Harbor” law to decriminalize child sex trafficking survivors. Minors would no longer be charged with prostitution and instead receive services.From our experience in Iowa, we know that passing laws to end the criminalization of child sex trafficking victims is challenging, but 23 states and DC have already taken steps to address this injustice.
  3. Supports restoration of $1.7 M cut to state funding for the Victim Assistance Grants in the Crime Victim Assistance Division in the Attorney General Office and requests the Iowa Legislature to create a new funding appropriation of $1M designated for Human Trafficking Prevention, Education and Treatment Services. This new source of funding for human trafficking should not result in taking away funding from existing state appropriations.
  4. The NAHT requests that the Iowa Legislature enact legislation to expand and improve anti-human trafficking laws.
    1. Increase the punishment for sex purchasers (Johns) to deter others from purchasing sex. Enact statutes to allow law enforcement to impound a vehicle used in certain crimes:
      1. Trafficking of person, involuntary servitude, and related offense
      2. Prostitution
    2. Allow civil suits for victims of trafficking
    3. Enact legislation that criminalizes the transportation of persons for the purpose of commercialized sex acts
  5. The Iowa NAHT asks that either the Iowa Supreme Court adopt rules or that the Iowa Legislature enact legislation to add human trafficking victims to Iowa’s Rape Shield law.