September 2019 Iowa Anti-Trafficking Global News

Recommendations to Improve Anti-Slavery Efforts in The United States

I am honored to be serving as the vice-chair of the international board of the Rotary Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS). I have just returned from an overseas trip where I learned about the anti-trafficking progress being made in European countries like Sweden, The United Kingdom, and Norway. These nations have been successful in raising awareness about this entrenched and pervasive crime against humanity and taking action against it with progressive laws and funding for anti-trafficking prevention, rescue, and survivor programs.

In contrast the United States is falling behind. If we look back at the US State Department 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TiP) Report (click here for report) we will learn that the US Government opened, charged, and prosecuted fewer cases, issued fewer victims trafficking-specific immigration options, and granted fewer foreign national victims of trafficking eligibility to access benefits and services. Anti-trafficking advocates reported a lack of sustained effort to address labor trafficking and to strengthen oversight of employment-based and other nonimmigrant visa programs. Advocates such as the Iowa NAHT continued to report that victim services were not provided equitably, and in Iowa we saw a significant cut in funding (see blog post from June 12th for more info on funding cuts).

Here is a summary of prioritized recommendations for the United States:

  • Shorten processing times and improve training for adjudicators to reduce obstacles for victims to appropriately obtain trafficking-related immigration benefits
  • Proactively identify potential trafficking victims among populations vulnerable to human trafficking
  • Increase the number of trafficking investigations and prosecutions
  • Seek to ensure US immigration enforcement does not hinder human trafficking criminal law enforcement or victim protections
  • Increase equitable access to comprehensive victim services across the country and improve access to short-term and/or transitional housing for all victims
  • Encourage state, local, and tribal authorities to implement policies not to prosecute victims for the unlawful acts their traffickers compelled them to commit
  • Increase training of prosecutors and judges on mandatory forfeiture and restitution for trafficking victims
  • Increase prevention efforts, including through outreach to and intervention services for marginalized communities
  • Strengthen efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex and labor trafficking

We at the NAHT have similar goals for 2019 to improve Iowa’s fight against human trafficking.

Extract of an Anti-Slavery Speech by UK Prime Minister Theresa May

Theresa May recently stepped down as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She gave a moving farewell speech which included the extract below. This is the type of government leadership that can set the stage for major progress in her nation’s fight against modern day slavery.

Well over 100 years ago, in nations across the world, governments condemned slavery to the history books. It should not exist anywhere today. Yet around the world it remains a daily reality for more than 40 million men, women and children.

People like Ajoba, who was lured to Britain with the promise of decent work, but ended up spending nine years as an unpaid domestic servant, banned from leaving the house or meeting other people. Or Olive, from China, who was told that she could pay back her husband’s gambling debts by taking a job in a London restaurant, only to be forced into prostitution. Raped seven days a week for several years she considered killing herself – but was told that if she did so, her parents would be murdered.

Or Harry – British born and bred, always proud to have a job. Becoming homeless after struggling with mental health problems he was targeted by a gang who offered him work, food and accommodation. He ended up living in a damp, overcrowded caravan, doing hard physical labour for 16 hours a day. Weak and malnourished, when he asked for his pay he was beaten. And his suffering continued when he was sold to another gang – yes, “sold”, in modern Britain, for £3,000. These are just three stories among many millions.

Indeed, the sheer scale of modern slavery is frightening to behold. The UK is an advanced liberal democracy at the forefront of the fight against such exploitation. But if tonight we were to free everyone in Britain who is trapped in some form of slavery and bring them to the ILO so we might hear their testimony, they would not merely take every seat in this hall – they would fill it seven times over. To find room for every victim in the world, we would need a city 200 times larger than Geneva.

Modern slavery truly is a global epidemic. It hides in plain sight in our towns and cities, our fields and factories. It reaches into every corner of our lives – in the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the services we pay for. Yet for many years it seldom captured the world’s attention or outrage – allowing those who trade in human misery to quietly continue their work, and allowing all of us to look  the other way as we benefited from the forced labour of this growing underclass.

Throughout my time in government – first as my country’s Home Secretary, more recently as its Prime Minister – I have fought to change that. To put the issue of modern slavery firmly on the domestic and international agenda. To prevent men, women and children becoming trapped in modern slavery and free those who are. And to relentlessly pursue, apprehend and bring to justice the barbaric individuals responsible.

Over the past nine years we have made much progress, and the tide of international opinion is with us – almost 90 governments have now endorsed the Call to Action on Modern Slavery that I launched in 2017. But there is still much work for all of us to do. So as I prepare to step down as Prime Minister, I believe it is more important than ever that we not only continue the fight against modern slavery, but that we accelerate it. That we recommit ourselves to the task. That we match our words with actions. And do all that we can to meet the UN’s goal of ending this abhorrent crime by 2030. Because modern slavery is simply immoral.

No leader worthy of the name can look the other way while men, women and children are held against their will, forced to work for a pittance or no pay at all, routinely beaten, raped and tortured. Those of us who can speak out, who have a platform from which to be heard, have a duty, a moral duty, to raise our voices on their behalf.

Global Human Trafficking Conference

The attached flyer shares information about an upcoming global conference on human trafficking. The SAFE 2019: 4th Annual Global Conference on Human Trafficking, “Inspire, Innovate, Integrate,” will be held November 3–6 in Naperville, Illinois (close to Chicago). This conference aims to foster significant collaboration (both domestic and international), sharing of information, and discussion relevant to service providers, law enforcement, clinicians, and others working to address human trafficking. For more information and registration, go to http://bit.ly/safe2019. The call for proposals is also still open. You can also contact safeconference@safechr.org with questions or for more information.

Register to Walk For Freedom and Join the Worldwide Fight for the Millions Still Enslaved

Why register to walk? Because human trafficking is robbing millions of basic human rights—freedom, dignity, worth, and value. This October is our chance to come together in strength and numbers; to fight for freedom, to walk for freedom. For the one, for the millions, for our world. On October 19th, we will unite under one thing—freedom from slavery.

Once you register at a21.org/walk, post the Walk For Freedom image to your social media accounts and tag three friends. Remind them of what unites us all and why they should walk with you. This is their chance to join you in putting an end to slavery.

Disposed Human Trafficking Charges in 10 Iowa Cities

Gretchen Brown-Waech, Human Trafficking Coordinator for the Iowa Attorney Generals Office, has shared some information on charges for human trafficking and selected related offenses for 10 Iowa counties. Data encompasses the time period of 1/1/19-6/30/19 for the following counties: Black Hawk, Dallas, Dubuque, Johnson, Linn, Polk, Pottawattamie, Scott, Warren, and Woodbury. Something to recognize: these are disposed charges. The definition of this is from the Iowa Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning (CCJP) website: Disposed charges include all charged offenses, including charges that resulted in a conviction, as well as charges that were ultimately dismissed, acquitted, not filed, or reduced. Cases may include one or more charges, and all are included in the counts. Local ordinances are not included. So these are all charges that were reported to CJJP regardless of how they were ultimately handled–thus, this is not prosecution or conviction data. It is a snapshot of what’s happening on the ground. The FELD/C/B, SRMS, and AGMS refer to the crime class: Felony A/B/C/D. Serious Misdemeanor, Aggravated Misdemeanor. The table below shows the classes and general categories of penalties.

Iowa Crime Class Potential Criminal Penalty
Simple Misdemeanor Up to 30 days in jail and $625 in fines
Serious Misdemeanor Up to 1 year in jail and $1,875 in fines
Aggravated Misdemeanor Up to 2 years in jail and $6,250 in fines
Class D Felony Up to 5 years and $7,500 in fines
Class C Felony Up to 10 years and $10,000 in fines
Class B Felony Up to 25 years
Class A Felony Up to life imprisonment

Below is a link to the data on these 10 counties.

https://iowanaht.org/wp-content/uploads/Disposed-Charges-1.1.06-to-6.30.19.pdf

Information from the National Human Trafficking Training Center

The Iowa NAHT would like to suggest that if you do not already receive information from the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center https://www.acf.hhs.gov/otip/training/nhttac that you sign up for it. The NHTTAC delivers training and technical assistance to inform and enhance the public health response to human trafficking.

2019 Multistate Conference: Working Toward a Victimless Future

Registration is open for the 2019 Multistate Conference: Working Toward a Victimless Future being held Tuesday, September 17 – Thursday, September 19, 2019 at the Best Western Plus Dubuque Hotel, 3100 Dodge St., Dubuque, IA 52003. This conference has historically been excellent for federal, state and local victim service providers and law enforcement. For more information, an agenda, and to register for the 2019 Multistate Conference, please click the link below. Please, feel free to share this information with others that may be interested. Get more information and register here:  https://multistateconference.org/2019

Eyes Wide Open: A Human Trafficking Summit

Please join us for a 1-day summit, designed to supply front line professionals with updates on key topics related to advancing anti-trafficking efforts in Iowa.

Professionals in all fields – law enforcement, legislation, social care, foster care, counseling, school administration, nursing, clergy, etc.— are encouraged to come and hear more about the support available to them on the front lines of Iowa’s fight against human trafficking and slavery.

CEUs offered.

Register by clicking here.