By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
IOWA CITY — “Human Trafficking in Iowa: How you can be part of the solution” panel discussion will be held Sept. 25 from 7-9 p.m. at Hotel Vetro, 201 S Linn St.
John Barr, professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at St. Ambrose University in Davenport and member of First Presbyterian Church in Iowa City, said the panel includes representatives from the state attorney general’s office, Truckers Against Trafficking, Johnson County Law Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, various victim advocacy groups and policy makers.
“Interstate 80 is a major route for trafficking,” Barr said. “This is a real issue going on in our state.”
Lara Marsh, team leader of the social justice committee at First Presbyter-ian, said many people don’t realize human trafficking is happening right here. “It’s easy to say it happens in the Philippines or Taiwan. But it’s here in Johnson County, Linn County. It’s everywhere.”
She noted it’s a difficult subject to listen to, “but our hope is that people leave (the discussion on human trafficking) being better educated and inspired to do something about it. We hope this event is helpful and hopeful.”
The event includes an overview of human trafficking, what is being done to find people who traffick others, and how prosecutors are tracking them down. A foster mother of a former victim, now survivor, will speak. An advocate will talk about laws that have been passed in Iowa and what is being worked on for the future.
Questions will be taken at the end of the panel discussion.
Sponsors for the event are First Presbyterian Church in Iowa City, Braking Traffik, Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking, Iowa Depart-ment of Transportation and Hotel Vetro.
The event is free and open to the public.