Concerns are continually rising as issues at the southern border continue to increase. Senators who have visited the border have stated that there is human trafficking, essentially slavery taking place.
Today is the World Day Against Human Trafficking and Secretary of State Paul Pate is working with the Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Iowa Department of Transportation to raise awareness about the issue. Their combined goal is to make Iowa a trafficking-free state.
Secretary Pate launched the Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking (IBAT) initiative in January 2022. The Iowa Department of Public Safety oversees the Office to Combat Human Trafficking which provides investigative capabilities, training, resources, and a reporting tool to collect information on suspected trafficking. The Iowa Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Enforcement (MVE) officers interact daily with drivers and take part in special outreach programs to educate them on how to spot signs of human trafficking.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Office to Combat Human Trafficking provides free online training that can be accessed anytime at STOPHTIowa.org. Their certified curriculum is required for any lodging provider that hosts public employees or publicly funded events.
Secretary of State Paul Pate, Iowa DOT Officer Joel Nickell, and Iowa Department of Public Safety Chris Calloway met with KIOW News Director A. J. Taylor about this problem in rural Iowa.
Iowa DOT Motor Vehicle Enforcement officers also partner with Truckers Against Trafficking, a national nonprofit with the mission of raising awareness of human trafficking. Their joint efforts in Iowa have become a national model for others to follow. They are also placing billboards across the state encouraging Iowans to ‘Recognize and Report – Human Trafficking’.
More than 550 businesses and organizations have joined the IBAT coalition since it launched. Businesses are asked to complete two tasks each year: “Learn Something,” and “Do Something.” Businesses will commit to “Learn Something” by educating employees, customers, and industry partners on the signs and impact of human trafficking in Iowa. Businesses can “Do Something” by empowering more people to take action to prevent human trafficking in Iowa.
IBAT is a component of Iowa’s Safe at Home program, which offers address confidentiality to survivors of trafficking, sexual abuse, domestic violence, assault and stalking.
Click here for more information about the Secretary of State’s Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking initiative.
Click here to learn more about the Iowa Office to Combat Human Trafficking.
Click here for more information about the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Recognize & Report initiative.