November 2019 Anti-Trafficking News
Teresa Davidson of Iowa to Serve on New Federal Trafficking Council
President Trump has appointed Teresa Davidson of Cedar Rapids to be a member of the Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking. The NAHT is very pleased that Iowa will have a strong voice on the Council and we congratulate Teresa.
Teresa is an emeritus member of the Iowa NAHT Board of Directors. She works as the Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids and is the founder of Chains Interrupted, a Cedar Rapids organization that focuses on raising awareness, educating, and providing human trafficking survivor services. Teresa is also a pediatric nurse practitioner, recently becoming a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. Through her various roles, she provides training and presentations on how others in the medical field and within the law enforcement community can identify victims of human trafficking.
The Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking is a result of Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s bill that passed in the last Congress, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The role of the advisory council is to provide advice and recommendations to a larger federal task force to address human trafficking. Some of the council’s responsibilities will include reviewing federal government policy and programs intended to combat human trafficking as well as formulating assessments and recommendations to ensure that the policy and programming efforts conform to best practices in the field.
Wisconsin Woman Gets 10 Years for Sex Trafficking in Iowa
A Wisconsin woman has been imprisoned for sex trafficking a 16-year-old girl in Iowa and Nebraska. Federal prosecutors say 37-year-old Brooklyn Pohl was given 10 years at her sentencing in mid October in Omaha. Law enforcement officers made contact with the girl at a truck stop in the Omaha suburb of Gretna. Investigators learned that Pohl and the girl had traveled from Illinois through Iowa to Nebraska. They stayed at several motels along the way, with Pohl posting online ads offering the girl for sex acts. Prosecutors say Pohl would help the girl negotiate prices with the customers. The case was investigated by the Nebraska State Patrol, the FBI, the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, and the Sheboygan, Wisconsin Police Department.
Human Trafficking or Slavery?
As you know, in the USA “Human Trafficking is often used to cover all elements of the term “Modern Slavery” but in many other countries, human trafficking is regarded simply (and quite rightly) as a mechanism or a conduit which brings people into slavery. It is one process of enslavement, not a condition or result of that process. Put another way, human trafficking is smuggling plus coercion or deception at the beginning of the process and enslavement at the end. In many parts of the world people are being enslaved in situ, ie by their own people. India or North Korea are classic examples. So “modern slavery” is the term used in most countries now, not “human trafficking”. The Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery now uses both terms in its title.
Lila Mae’s House Opened November 1, 2019
Lila Mae’s House for survivors of sex trafficking, also known as Siouxland Restoration Center, opened on November 1st. Our congratulations to all of those who have volunteered or supported this important work with their financial gift. Special recognition goes to the founder, Sister Shirley Fineran, LISW, Retired Briar Cliff University Social Work Faculty, and member of the Iowa NAHT Board of Directors. For a full description and photos of Lila Mae’s House, click here: Lila Mae’s House Brochure.
Contact Information: https://lilamaeshouse.org | PO Box 1281, Sioux City, IA 51102 | 712-899-6211
Twitter Has Lax Controls
Twitter is being increasingly exploited by pornographers to publicise their explicit material. The social network is not restricted by family-friendly internet filters as these only block specific web addresses, rather than a website’s content. As Twitter is not blocked by filters, there is no control on the images published on it. This means people can publish graphic images, including videos of hardcore sex acts, on their Twitter ‘feeds’ without being blocked.
The graphic images are used as a way of luring internet surfers to spend money on their services, for example by buying more explicit pictures or by paying to watch explicit videos.
And although Twitter says it has a minimum age limit of 13, it does not ask people to verify their age when they set up an account. The pornographic Twitter accounts are often labelled ’18 +’ but the social network does not have any mechanism in place to check users’ ages. In fact, the ’18 +’ label can be used to help people – including curious young people – to search for pornographic material.
Faith-Based Human Trafficking Movie to be Released January 23rd, 2020
There is a new movie coming to theaters for one night on January 23rd—Blind Eyes Opened is a faith-based documentary about the Human Trafficking epidemic in the USA. It is more than a movie about the problem, it tells the story of 5 victims who have found redemption and hope and are now telling their stories to help change the lives of others.
To see the trailer and learn more about the movie, visit blindeyesopened.com.
State Human Trafficking Report Cards: Iowa Gets a “B”
Each year Shared Hope International puts out a national “report card” on the anti-trafficking laws of each of the 50 states. Iowa has earned a grade of “B” for its legislation. Iowa’s report begins with the following analysis of Iowa laws.
Iowa’s human trafficking law criminalizes sex trafficking of minors without regard to the use of force, fraud, or coercion. However, Iowa’s trafficking offense does not reach the actions of all buyers because the offense requires the involvement of a controlling third party. Victims of sex trafficking may be deterred from testifying due to lack of “rape shield” protection.
The NAHT 2020 Legislative Priorities include a Safe Harbor Law and a “rape shield” law which would address these shortcomings. If these two pieces of legislation are enacted by the Iowa legislature in 2020, Iowa will deserve an A rating for anti-trafficking legislation.
For Iowa’s full report, click here.
Authorities Arrest Hundreds of Users of World’s Largest Child-Porn Website
More than 300 users of the world’s largest child-pornography website have been arrested and the website’s alleged operator indicted, U.S. authorities recently disclosed, the result of a yearslong law-enforcement operation that spanned more than a dozen countries.
U.S., British, and South Korean authorities last year shut down the Welcome to Video website, which was accessible through the dark web. They seized its server and the 250,000 videos that were on it, officials said.
Another Well-Attended Human Trafficking Summit
The fourth annual Eyes Wide Open Summit—A Human Trafficking Conference took place on Friday, October 11th, in Ankeny, Iowa. Close to 200 Iowans attended the daylong conference. The Iowa NAHT commends Garden Gate Ranch and its founder, Brenda Long, for hosting another very successful training conference. There were excellent speakers from across Iowa.
This photo shows a panel of three speakers who spoke on Victim Medical/Social Services. The expert panel from left to right consisted of Nikki Romer, a Forensic Interviewer at Blank Hospital, Teresa Davidson, ARNP, MSN, MA, the Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator at Mercy Medical Center, and Shannon Findlay, MD, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Iowa.
An Evidence-Based Best Practice Tool was shared along with protocols for medical personnel to identify, rescue, and treat victims of sex trafficking. Real life examples were given of rescued patients. The Heal Toolkit was also discussed.
There were two other panel discussions as follows: Legislative/Law Enforcement Perspectives Panel
- Virginia Bruner: Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa
- Angela Kenyon Davis: AKD Legal Consulting
- Sarah Shambrook: Victim Coordinator, Marsy’s Law for Iowa
- Karen Gale: FBI – Victim Advocacy
Available Tools and Resources Panel
- Gretchen Brown-Waech: Iowa Attorney General’s Office, Victim Services
- Yolanda Harden: Regional Director, Set Me Free
- Jessica Rohrs: Director of Victim Services, Victim Services Hotline
- Christine Bussey: Victim Witness Program Coordinator, United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Iowa
The photos below show the Summit audience and other speakers.