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Human trafficking happens in Iowa

February 4, 2016
By State Senator Steve Sodders - D-State Center , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Human trafficking is the trade of humans, most commonly for sexual slavery, forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. It's a crime that's going on here in the heartland, and the fight is under way to combat it.

owa law enforcement officers, including Commissioner of Public Safety Roxann Ryan, former Senator Maggie Tinsman and representatives of Braking Traffik in the Quad Cities, and others taking on human trafficking in Iowa came before the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the problem and solutions.

Legislators heard stories of Iowans lured and forced into trafficking, as well as of those taken from their homes and brought here under duress. We heard about abused kids who run away only to be preyed upon by traffickers. Statistics show that on average runaways are on the street for only 48 hours before they're lured into human trafficking.

Article Photos

State Senator Steve Sodders
D-State Center

Traffickers recognize victims' vulnerabilities and use those vulnerabilities to lure them. Risk factors for victims include:

Physical and sexual abuse at home

Unsafe use of the Internet and media

Homelessness

Victims may endure horrible physical and sexual abuse, live in poverty and have all identification taken from them.

A 14-year-old girl who'd been abused at home was in an Iowa grocery store when she was approached by a stranger with promises of food and other necessities for survival. She was taken to Chicago where she was forced into sex work.

To help fight trafficking in Iowa, law enforcement, students, parents and teachers are being trained on how to recognize victims and what can be done to rescue them.

Law enforcement sees a significant relationship between drug trafficking and human trafficking. This allows them to use data and information on drug trafficking to tackle human trafficking.

To report suspected human trafficking or for victims in need of help, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center by calling 1-888-373-7888 or texting BeFree (233733). Your call is toll-free and confidential.

 
 
 

 

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