Spring 2018 Anti-Trafficking News

There continues to be a lot of anti-trafficking news both here in Iowa and around the country. Today’s blog post will help to keep you up to date. If you have anti-trafficking news, events, trainings, meetings, or resources to share across Iowa, please send to gbelitsos55@gmail.com.

  1. Mercy Hospital in Cedar Rapids is the first hospital in Iowa to create a position for an Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator. Teresa Davidson, a Nurse Practitioner at Mercy, will soon fill this important and unique position. Nationwide, there are only three or four similar positions. Congratulations to Teresa who is also a member of the Iowa NAHT board and the Executive Director of Chains Interrupted, which is based in Cedar Rapids. Initial goals of this position will be to provide trainings for hospitals and clinics across the state, which will include assisting them with developing protocols. Mercy’s website will soon have a page where you can request a speaker. More details on that to come!
  1. Twenty direct service providers attended the May 8th quarterly meeting of the Iowa Survivor Services Collaboration. The meeting was held at the Department of Transportation in Ames. If you would like to read the minutes of the meeting you can click here (PDF). If you would like to join this collaboration for providers of services to human trafficking survivors, contact Joy Fopma, who serves on the Iowa NAHT Board of Directors and is the Director of Wings of Refuge based in Iowa Falls.
  2. Roxann Ryan, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, recently announced the appointment of Terry Cowman as the new Human Trafficking Coordinator for the Office to Combat Human Trafficking. He has also been promoted to be the Assistant Director of the Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center. His contact information is: Terry Cowman, Human Trafficking Coordinator at the Department of Public Safety Office to Combat Human Trafficking, 215 East 7th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319; cowman@dps.state.ia.us.
  3. The Iowa Department of Transportation will soon launch a training program for Iowa bus drivers. The following link gives you a complete description about the DOT plan and contact info: Busing on the Lookout (PDF). This second link is to an article about why the American Bus Association has also decided to train its drivers on Busing on the Lookout (BOTL), which follows the same model as Truckers Against Trafficking. https://www.buses.org/news/article/insider-exclusive-why-busing-on-the-lookout-why-now
  4. The Human Trafficking Legal Center published these fact sheets and asked the Network to disseminate them here in Iowa. It would be helpful if our blog subscribers would share these with other human trafficking advocates.
    1. Domestic Violence and Trafficking Fact Sheet:
    2. Human Trafficking and Health Care Professionals Fact Sheet:
    3. Trafficking of Persons with Disabilities Fact Sheet:
    4. Mandatory Restitution and Human Trafficking:
  5. Here is a link to a news clip about the Mandatory Reporter amendment added to the Iowa budget bill. The Iowa NAHT advocated for this study bill in the hope that it will lead to improved recognition and reporting of sex trafficking among Iowa’s children and youth. http://www.kcrg.com/content/news/I9-Mandatory-reporter-amendment-added-to-budget-bill-awaits-Governors-signature-482589891.html
  6. Invite your church to host a Freedom Sunday. Partner with International Justice Mission and dedicate one Sunday at your church to end slavery. Links to a sign up and guide are below: https://www.endslaverynow.org/act/action-library/invite-your-church-to-host-a-freedom-sunday
  7. The Iowa Victim Service Call Center is a resource to victims and survivors throughout the state of Iowa. This includes sex trafficking, labor trafficking, sexual assault, domestic violence, violent crimes, and survivors of homicide. Advocates at the Iowa Call Center are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 1-800-770-1650 or you can text iowahelp to 20121. For a complete update from the center, click here: http://www.survivorshelpline.org/
  8. The Break the Cycle Bike Ride will take place on Friday, June 22nd. Click here for more details: https://breakthecycle200.com/event-details/
  9. On May 15th, police in Altoona, Iowa, charged a Des Moines man with human trafficking. The 32 year old man, Michael Nelson, allegedly fired a round in the air from a handgun when the victim told him she didn’t want to solicit sex. It was the prospective buyer who later called police. The incident took place at the Flying J Truck Stop in Altoona, Iowa. For more details, read this article and watch the TV13 video: http://whotv.com/2018/05/15/man-charged-with-sex-trafficking-at-flying-j-in-altoona-officials-warn-problem-is-getting-worse/amp/
  10. There is an excellent human trafficking training opportunity on June 11 in Mason City. Please view the June 11th Human Trafficking Training Flyer (PDF).
  11. A new coalition has emerged in Iowa. The Southwest Iowa Coalition on Human Trafficking recently affiliated with the Iowa NAHT. The following link is a description of the Coalition and a snippet of some of their accomplishments. Katie Kyker has been elected to the NAHT Board of Directors to represent the Coalition. Katie has her Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University, and is the Development Coordinator for the Jennie Edmundson Foundation. For more information about the Coalition, click here.