To the Editor:
The Sisters of St. Francis Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking is committed to raising awareness that human trafficking is happening here in Iowa. Knowing the signs will help keep our kids safe and help to rescue those who are not.
The International Labor Organization reports that human trafficking is a $32 billion industry, second in organized crime behind illicit drugs. Federal law defines human trafficking victims as individuals including children involved in the sex trade, adults ages 18 or older who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into “labor or services,” such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm workers forced to labor against their will. An estimated 21 million individuals are victims of human trafficking worldwide; about 5.5 million of them are children.
What you can do:
• Learn to recognize the signs of human trafficking, visit PolarisProject.org.
• Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, 1-888-3737-888 to get help or report a tip.
• Send a text to BeFree (233733) if you need help.
• Ask your federal legislators to support efforts to prevent labor trafficking and support the Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act.
• Thank our Iowa legislators for passing a new law which enhances penalties against people engaged in human trafficking, creates a fund for victims, and allows county attorneys to refer a juvenile prostitute to the Department of Human Services as a child in need of assistance.
• Join our Anti-Trafficking committee, which meets the second Tuesday of every month at 9 a.m. in The Canticle, 843 13th Ave. N., Clinton.
• Attend the free screening of “Not My Life” — a documentary on human trafficking — June 19 at 6:30 p.m. at The Canticle.
• Saving people from becoming victims of human trafficking is all our responsibility.
Laura Anderson, Sr. Nancy Miller and Lori Freudenberg
Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking