Editorial: National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking

Editorial Board

As it has been for years, January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. During this month, we must revamp our efforts to fight human trafficking every day and everywhere.

Human trafficking is an issue that, for Iowa especially, feels foreign to us. The idea that something that horrible could happen in this state seems completely insane.

But human trafficking hits closer to home than you might think.

In 2017, there were 42 human trafficking cases reported in Iowa. This isn’t an anomaly either. Since 2007, there have been 239 cases of human trafficking in Iowa.

On top of that, a majority of those victims are females being trafficked for illegal sexual activity. This is disgusting and unacceptable.

Iowa isn’t immune from this issue just because we are a rural state. In fact, the major interstate highways that run right through Iowa contribute to the problem. Victims of human trafficking will almost inevitably make it through our state because of the ease of travel along those interstate highways.

42 cases is absolutely too many in Iowa. As long as the number of human trafficking cases is above zero, human trafficking is a big problem.

Human trafficking is here, in our home, and it is up to us to work together to solve it. We must all make ourselves aware of what the signs of human trafficking are and what we can do to stop it.

Signs that someone might be a potential victim of human trafficking are: an inability for someone to come and go as they please, someone working excessively long hours, someone lacking medical care, someone that has few personal possessions or someone that has a lack of basic knowledge about where they are.

If you see any of these signs or believe there is human trafficking happening near you, you can call the Iowa Helpline at 1-800-770-1650 or call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

You can also contact or work with the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery. They are dedicated to ending human trafficking and have recently begun a statewide initiative to help combat sex trafficking in Iowa.

We have an obligation as human beings to protect and help our fellow human beings whose lives are being stolen from them.

During this January, remember your obligation to be informed and unshrinking in the fight against human trafficking, especially in Iowa. This problem isn’t going anywhere unless we step up to fight it. So, as Iowans and as humans, let’s all fight human trafficking each day we can.