Update on Iowa Anti-Trafficking Legislation and a big success in the U.S. Congress

Iowa 2018 legislation update

Disappointing news from the Iowa Statehouse. We began the 2018 legislative session with ten anti-trafficking bills in January. The Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking endorsed all of these 10 bills as follows;

  1. SF 2300 for a study group on Mandatory Reporter Training improvements including the addition of human trafficking. (Charles Schneider and Zach Nunn)
  2. HSB 634 (introduced by representative Zach Nunn) in which persons under the age of 18 will not be charged with prostitution and will remain under the jurisdiction of juvenile court.
  3. SF 2254 (introduced by Senator Mark Segebart) increases the criminal penalty for traffickers of those 18 and under.
  4. HF498 (Rep. Art Staed) Trauma Informed Care practices and suicide prevention center.
  5. SF 2056 (Senator Kevin Kenny) age appropriate sex abuse and anti-human trafficking school education.
  6. SF2066 (Senator Matt McCoy) mandatory reporter workgroup to study training and certification requirements.
  7. SF138 requiring school districts to conduct health visits for homeschooled children.
  8. SF2034 prohibits placement of adopted children in home schools if the adoptive parents are receiving an adoption subsidy.
  9. SF2029 (Senator Pam Jochum) age-appropriate sexual abuse awareness and prevention for school-age children (consideration bill must move to shall).
  10. SF 2095 (Senator Rita Hart) Forced labor trafficking becomes felony penalty.

Only two of these 10 bills made it through the first funnel including a and c above. With hard work and advocacy led by Network Legislative Advisory Committee co-chairs, Liz Cox and Maggie Tinsman, we did get both of these bills to the floor of the Iowa Senate before the end of the second funnel, and both of these bills passed on a unanimous 49 to 0 bipartisan vote in the Senate.

Unfortunately, both bills stalled in the Iowa House and therefore died on February 17th, the deadline for the second funnel. For an update on the Iowa NAHT legislative agenda for 2018, click here:  Legislation endorsed and encouraged for passage by the 2018 Iowa Legislature

Most of these priorities will be carried over into the 2019 legislative year.

Federal legislation update

The U.S. Senate just passed (March 21, 2018) the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). This is a historic and major legislative victory in the fight to stop human trafficking. The bill provides a much-needed update to the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to help hold websites like Backpage accountable when they knowingly facilitate sex trafficking.

The NAHT commends Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) who spearheaded and stewarded this legislation through Congress and are grateful for the tireless efforts of survivor advocates who relentlessly fought to help keep others from facing exploitation online. But most of all, we thank anti-trafficking advocates who took action on SESTA by responding to our email alerts, signed petitions, and sent letters to their elected officials. Your voices were heard!

Advocates have been fighting for change on this issue for over 10 years and this victory is a testament to what your time, activism, and dedication can make possible. Thank you for your commitment to the victims and survivors of human trafficking.

Next we ask you to ask Congress to turn its attention to reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which expired in Sept. 2017. The TVPA provides the legal foundation in the United States to combat human trafficking and authorizes the federal funds used to provide essential domestic and international anti-trafficking programs to support victims and survivors. You can join the National Polaris effort to support this legislation by clicking their link below.

Take Action: Urge Congress to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act as quickly as possible.