Iowa organizations recognize National Human Trafficking Prevention month with new efforts to raise awareness

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 6:19 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Chains Interrupted is a Cedar Rapids based nonprofit that works to stop human trafficking.

It’s hosting a webinar this Thursday to educate people on how technology is used by traffickers. President Trish Young says the pandemic has significantly increased risk of exploitation, as people are spending much more time online. “We talk to our kiddos about drugs, we talk to our kiddos about alcohol, we talk to our kids about different things,” says Young. “Do we talk to them about pornography, do we talk to them about the dangers of online grooming and that the person you’re speaking with may not be the person you’re actually talking to.”

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, homeless children and runaways are at particular risk for being trafficked.

The Secretary of State’s office recently launched a statewide alliance of businesses to end human trafficking. More than 300 businesses have already signed up. The goal is to get these businesses to be educated about human trafficking, and be ready to take action.

“We’re trying to ask businesses to help us, be our ambassadors. Get the message out there,” says Secretary of State Paul Pate. “We want them to do two things: learn something then do something about it. We’ve given them suggestions and ways they can do that whether it’s encouraging employees to learn more about it or customers. Perhaps reporting it.”

Four cities across Eastern Iowa have proclaimed January Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention month, with Coralville expected to declare a similar proclamation at its meeting Tuesday evening.

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