In 2014, President Barack Obama, proclaimed January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month to bring attention to the fact that human trafficking, or modern day slavery, still exists today. There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today, generating hundreds of billions of dollars in profits around the world, including here in the U.S. and Iowa. Traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to manipulate people to provide services against their will. The root causes are greed and a sub-culture that accepts treating people, especially women and children, as sex objects who can be sold for some measurable benefit.
In 2017, Governor Kim Reynolds announced a campaign to educate hotel/motel employees about this crime. She encouraged hotel/motel owners and managers to provide training designed to educate their employees on recognizing and responding to sex trafficking. To address this call to action, The Sisters of St. Francis Anti-Trafficking committee has recently held trainings for volunteer who in turn, will train local hotels about human trafficking. It is estimated that 75 percent of sex trafficking occurs in hotels/motels, more often than not, unbeknownst to managers and staff.
The training includes basic knowledge about sex trafficking and information regarding how to respond if illegal activity is suspected.
Our goal is to make sure our hotels/motels stay family friendly, that visitors know that Clinton has made this a priority. Recognizing potential red flags of human trafficking is a key step in identifying victims and helping them find the assistance they need.
If you suspect a victim, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Or text HELP to: BeFree (233733).
For more information or to join the Sisters of St. Francisca Anti-Trafficking Committee visit: www.clintonfranciscans.com.
Community Outreach Director, Franciscan Peace Center