January 16th Governor’s Proclamation Signing for Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month

This Thursday, January 16th at 11:00 AM, Governor Kim Reynolds will be signing the 2020 Proclamation declaring January as Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month. All anti-trafficking advocates and allies are encouraged to come to the rotunda of the State Capitol Bldg in Des Moines to participate as we recommit ourselves to eradicating labor and sex trafficking from Iowa. Following the proclamation signing, Governor Reynolds will present five Outstanding Anti-Trafficking Service Awards. The honorees are as follows:

  • Heather Brown – Trafficking survivor who has become a spokesperson for victims. She is now employed full-time and has her own housing and is a licensed foster parent. Heather is one of three Iowa trafficking victims featured in the documentary Gridshock. She speaks publicly about how teens are groomed and recruited by traffickers. She also shares insights into the traffickers’ control tactics.
  • Senator Charles Grassley – Has advocated and sponsored anti-trafficking public policy legislation starting in 2003 with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and later, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, and most recently, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2018.
  • 2019-anti-human-trafficking-award-dave-lorenzenBrenda Long – Founder and driving force behind the non-profit Garden Gate Ranch, providing safe housing for trafficking victims and their children. She is a passionate advocate for survivors. She has also organized four annual statewide “Eyes Wide Open” anti-trafficking conferences.
  • Jim Townsend – A Des Moines business leader who has been an advocate and voice against the human trafficking industry in Des Moines. Upon learning of an illicit massage business operating near his Urbandale business headquarters, Jim spearheaded efforts to pass a massage business ordinance that led to the closing of illicit businesses.
  • Mark “Rocky” Vest – Founder and driving force behind Break The Cycle, an annual 200-mile bike ride to raise funds to break the cycle of sex trafficking. Since the first BTC 200 ride in 2011, over $750,000 has been raised and donated to non-profit prevention projects, rescue services, and survivor restoration programs.

The following is the itinerary for your participation in the January 16th Day on the Hill:

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM: Anti-Trafficking information table located in the Rotunda available to legislators and the public. The NAHT will be handing out its 2020 Legislative Priorities (link here).

11:00 – 11:45 AM: Governor Kim Reynolds signs proclamation and Presentation of Outstanding Anti-Trafficking Service Awards at the rotunda.

Noon – 1:30 PM: Iowa NAHT Board of Directors annual meeting in Room 116 of the State Capitol Building. Allies and the public are welcome to attend. Highlights of the meeting include:

  • Review of legislative priorities for 2020
  • Human trafficking training annual report from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy
  • Annual progress report from the Office to Combat Trafficking within the Department of Public Safety
  • Progress report from the Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Service (TAPS)
  • Presentation by the Nebraska Partnership Against Trafficking of Humans

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM: Meet with your local legislator and hand them a copy of the NAHT Legislative Priorities and solicit their support.

Nearly 40 City Councils adopt a local proclamation for January 2020

Another important request to all anti-trafficking advocates and NAHT Board members 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

Already nearly 40 city councils or boards of supervisors have signed proclamations. Here are just a few of the communities that have informed us.

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.

proclamation-signingHere is an example photo of the Proclamation by the Dubuque County Supervisors declaring January as “Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month.” This was adopted on January 2, 2020. Pictured with the three County Supervisors (Dave Baker, Ann McDonough and Jay Wickham) are some members of the Tri-State Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Slavery. A similar Proclamation was passed by the Dubuque City Council on January 6, 2020.

Other Iowa Events Marking Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month

There are many other local events celebrating “Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month”. Here are just a few that are free and open to the public.

Talk on Federal Efforts to Thwart Human Trafficking for Human Trafficking Awareness Month – Speaker Mary Hogan, Community Relations Officer with Department of Homeland Security, has previously worked in Victim/Witness services for almost twenty years and is a former federal correctional officer and a veteran of the U.S. Army. The event takes place on Thursday, January 16th at 7:00 PM in the County Administration Building, Conf Room B, 1900 N 3rd St, Clinton, Iowa. All are welcome, free of charge.

Gridshock – Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids will show the documentary Gridshock on Tuesday, January 21st at 7:00 PM. Admission is free and open to the public. Teresa Davidson, Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator at Mercy Medical Center, will also speak following the film. Lara, please insert the Gridshock poster here.

Des Moines Demand an End Trafficking Awareness Program – On Thursday, January 23rd from 6:30-9:00 PM there will be two excellent speakers. One facilitates a men’s group for those that have purchased sex and the other is an FBI agent, who works with victims.
Date: January 23rd
Time: 6:30pm to 9pm
6:30-6:45 – Introduction and factual basis of HT
6:45-7:30 – Speaker 1: Don Gault from Men Breaking Free, St. Paul, MN – Men Breaking Free is a ground breaking Restorative Justice approach to working with men who have been arrested for attempting to, or purchasing sex from another human being. It engages men in an introspective, healing and learning process designed to break the cycle of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.
7:30-7:45 – 15 min break
7:45-8:30 – Speaker 2: Karen Gale, HT specialist with the FBI.
8:30-9:00 – Panel discussion and audience questions
The event will be held at Plymouth Church in Waveland Hall. The Church is located at 4126 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines. For more information, contact Shirlee Reding at shirlee421@gmail.com or Sarah Shambrook at sshambrook@MarsysLaw.us. The event is free and open to the public. No reservations are required.

Would you be able to identify a patient who is in a trafficking situation? – You are invited to a special training session for hospital personnel, law enforcement, social services providers, and other professionals. The session was developed by eight trafficking survivors who have had intensive medical contact while being victims and as survivors. They share examples of missed opportunities to get help and provide suggestions on how to detect a trafficking situation. The event takes place on Friday, January 31 from 2:00-4:30 PM at MercyOne – Conference Room A – 1410 N 4th St, Clinton, Iowa.

Gridshock on sale for the month of January

mcneal-gridshockAs you know, January is Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month. Gridshock (a one-hour documentary about sex trafficking in Iowa) wants to go into 2020 reaching as many people as possible.

The filmmaker, Vanessa McNeal, has decided to clear her entire month of January just for free screenings of Gridshock followed by question and answer sessions by McNeal. In these sessions she will provide insight about trafficking, the film, and actionable steps for the community.

In order to reach as many people as possible, McNeal and her team have decided to offer a FREE lifetime license of Gridshock for organizations who book McNeal as a speaker. For the month of January, McNeal is also offering 70% of her regular speaker’s fee.

Please reach out to info@vanessamcneal.com for more details and information.