February 15, 2022
DES MOINES, Iowa, January 12, 2022 — Mercy College of Health Sciences demonstrated its commitment and leadership again as the first college in Iowa to sign a proclamation for prevention and take a public stance against human trafficking. Interim President Tom Leahy signed the proclamation this week alongside Mercy College Cabinet members, faculty, and staff.
Mercy College proclaims the month of January as the Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month. In addition to the campus proclamation, Mercy College is the first college in Iowa to join other organizations as an Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking (IBAT) coalition member. Furthermore, Mercy College’s Center for Human Flourishing on campus has committed funding toward the production of a general human trafficking training video available to all 300,000 businesses in the state of Iowa. The video will be used as an educational piece for coalition employees as they work toward the elimination of human trafficking and slavery in the state of Iowa. This new video will follow the current training video utilized by hotel and motel employees that showcases warning signs for human trafficking and steps to take if one is concerned that someone may be in a related situation.
Dr. Joseph Moravec, long-time Mercy College professor and member of the Board of Directors of the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking (NAHT), has led the College’s efforts against human trafficking. In April 2020, Moravec hosted the 15th Annual Research Symposium, an event focused on Child Trafficking and featuring keynote speaker Dr. Jordan Greenbaum.
Read the full article from Mercy College of Heath Sciences.
February 11, 2022
A local coalition and a University of Dubuque faculty member have been recognized for their efforts to stop human trafficking.
The Tri-State Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Kim Hilby, a UD assistant professor of sociology, were among five entities recognized by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office this week with Outstanding Anti-Trafficking Service Awards. The awards were presented as part of Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
“I’m very proud of the coalition,” said Sister Marilou Irons, co-chair of the coalition. “There are so many well-organized, enthusiastic, passionate women on this group. Pretty much all of us are former teachers. We know how to organize and move mountains.”
The coalition was founded in 2014 by five area congregations of women religious: Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sisters of St. Francis, Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters and Sisters of Mercy.
Sister Mary Lechtenberg, cochair of the coalition, said the group has worked hard to educate the community about human trafficking and how to spot it, despite not having an in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“Our focus is raising awareness and helping (community members) know the indicators,” she said. “It’s what we’re continuing to do with hotel employees.”
An Iowa law passed in 2020 requires hotels and motels to train employees to spot signs of human trafficking in order to be included on a list of places public employees can stay while traveling on government business. The effort was supported by all Dubuque area women religious. She said coalition leaders hope to gain new members as they continue educating local residents about human trafficking, noting that members do not have to be sisters of a religious order.
Read the full story by Kayli Reese on Dubuke Telegraph Herald.
June 11, 2020
CLINTON — During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, people are looking for ways to stay connected, especially teens who have been inside for the last two months. They use popular apps such as TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter to communicate with their friends.
But, a danger lurks in social media, said Lori Freudenberg, a community outreach director, last week.
Most people think human trafficking is when an adult abducts a person and make them into a sex slave. But traffickers are engaging with youth on social media, Freudenberg said.
Traffickers convince young people to send pictures and videos of themselves performing sexual acts, then use the photos and videos to blackmail the children into a digital version of human trafficking.
Freudenberg gives warning signs parents should look out for.
“Say your kid is gone, and they come home, and they have some new jewelry,” Freudenberg said. “Or they got a new purse, or new clothes, or tattoos [that you didn’t pay for]. All these are signs they are getting money from somewhere.”
Freudenberg said human traffickers lure young people by promising to send them money or buy them things. Often it never happens but is used to start a conversation.
To read the full story by Joshua Vinson on The Clinton Herald: Click Here