Iowa Launches Statewide Business Alliance to End Human Trafficking | News

DES MOINES — Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced the creation of a statewide business alliance to end human trafficking.

The Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking Coalition is open to businesses and nonprofits that promote both human trafficking awareness and the Iowa Safe at Home privacy program for survivors of human trafficking and trafficking. other violent crimes, said a press release from Pate’s office. The office administers the coalition and the Iowa Safe at Home program and invites all businesses to join the mission, Pate said in the statement.

Members are invited to commit to tasks for two themes: “Learn something” and “Do something”. “Learn Something” tasks educate employees, customers, and industry partners about the signs and impact of human trafficking in Iowa, while “Do Something” tasks empower people to take measures to prevent trafficking in human beings. Companies can apply for membership in the coalition IBAT.Iowa.gov. They receive an IBAT logo window sticker to display in their business.

“Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery, and it must end,” Pate said in the statement. “It’s affecting thousands of people across the United States, and it’s happening right here in Iowa. Whether it’s a big business or a family store on Main Street with a single employee , every company can join and every company can make a difference.

Iowa Restaurant Association and Iowa Hotel & Lodging Association are among the companies and organizations that have joined the IBAT.

“The hospitality industry can offer eyes and ears to the field like few others can,” said Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association and president of the Iowa Hotel & Lodging Association, at The Center Square in a statement sent Thursday. “Helping restaurants and bars access free training resources to stop trafficking in its tracks will only help us better support law enforcement in ending this egregious practice that benefits some of our populations. most vulnerable.”

Pate announced the program at a ceremony held at the State Capitol with Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery. The network legislative priorities this session include asking for $10 million in public funds for victim services and for the state to enact a safe harbor law for victims of human trafficking.

Accommodation owners and operators began having their employees undergo human trafficking prevention training to receive state or local public funding under a law that took effect this month. Dunker said that while the mandate is new, the hospitality industry has already partnered with local law enforcement to shut down the traffic and train employees to speak up if they see a situation they find. worrying.

“The training is going well in large part because of the biggest brands’ long-standing commitment to prevention,” she said. “We will work hard to help small operators access training resources as quickly as possible.”

The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Office to Combat Human Trafficking offers free online training on StopHTIowa.org. Iowans who see a situation where they believe someone is a victim of human trafficking can call 911. For victim services, call the Iowa Helpline at 1- 800-770-1650 or text “IOWAHELP” to 20121. To report a tip or service request, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

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