Target: Rep. Marti Anderson
Goal: End human trafficking in Iowa
Human traffickers are now using the internet to advertise and profit from their victims. In response to the upswing in human trafficking reports, legislators in Iowa are in the process of enacting stricter laws against trafficking. However, the issue is just beginning to receive the attention it desperately needs.
Despite the recent step forward, trafficking legislation in Iowa has been lax. There are typically harsher penalties for those caught in possession of drugs than there are for those participating in human slavery. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of human trafficking victims discovered in the United States are American born citizens.
In Iowa, human trafficking reports increased by 71% between 2011 and 2013. According to a human trafficking hotline, 82 calls came in from Iowa in 2012, followed by 54 calls in 2013 from January to June alone.
Lawmakers and police must draw attention to and distinguish the difference between prostitution and human trafficking. This would prevent human trafficking victims from being prosecuted for crimes that they barely had a say in committing.
Tell legislators that human slavery can no longer be overlooked. Make sex trafficking a priority for the sake of young girls.
Dear Representative Anderson,
Many of the girls trapped in the human trafficking world are children, still not old enough to drive. They are coerced, lied to, threatened, and abused from a young age by strangers. Without career or education opportunities, they often feel trapped and unable to find help. With Iowa receiving a particularly high number of trafficking reports in the past few years, it is crucial that this issue be taken seriously.
When human trafficking rings are raided, leaders may be given a few shorts years in jail, while the young women are charged with prostitution. They are stigmatized, emotionally scarred for life, and unable to find work because of their record.
In much of the US, there are no resources and no shelters to where trafficking victims can escape. While victims frequently make attempts to escape, they are often tracked down by their captors and re-enslaved.
There should be few issues that hold a higher priority than human slavery. However, this issue is running rampant with thousands of young people exploited every year. Please enact stricter legislation and provide sex trafficking victims with the support and services they need to survive.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ian Norman via Flickr