The Country Inn and Suites hotel in Clinton is taking steps to stem the crime of sex trafficking in the region. In April, the hotel became the second facility in Clinton to be certified in sex trafficking awareness and prevention by the Clinton County Anti-Trafficking Committee.
Staff at the hotel participated in a training program led by Sister Jeanne d'Arc Untz of the Sisters of St. Francis and Lori Freudenberg, Outreach Director for the Franciscan Peace Center. The program, developed by the Eastern Iowa Hotel-Motel Project Against Human Trafficking, is intended to provide an introduction to the problem of human trafficking: how to recognize the signs, and how to respond to suspicious activity.
Participants in the training learned the classic indicators of human trafficking such as individuals having large amounts of cash, lack of luggage, regular patterns of customer stays, and repeated requests by men for directions to a certain room. They also heard real-life stories of victims and survivors.
Clinton Country Inn and Suites front desk clerk, Heather Yarlam, was presented with a Certificate of Completion from the Clinton County Anti-Trafficking Committee on Friday, July 5.
"The majority of sex trafficking takes place in hotels and motels across the country," says Freudenberg, "which is why it is so important to empower hospitality industry staff with the knowledge of how to protect guests from exploitation."
Wild Rose Casino completed the training program earlier this spring. Additional hotels have expressed interest in the program and plans are underway to get all Clinton area hotels certified by the end of 2019.
The Clinton County Anti-Human Trafficking Committee meets monthly at 9:00 AM on the second Tuesday of the month at The Canticle - home of the Sisters of St. Francis, 841 Thirteenth Avenue North in Clinton. All are welcome to participate. Businesses and organizations interested in setting up training are invited to Lori Freudenberg at 563-242-7611.
The Franciscan Peace Center was established by the Sisters of St. Francis as means for integrating Franciscan spirituality with the mission of promoting active nonviolence and peacemaking, as well as advocating for social justice issues and care for the Earth. Most recently, the Center has focused on immigration reform, human trafficking, abolition of the death penalty, domestic violence and sexual assault, poverty, environmental concerns, and active nonviolence. More information is available at www.ClintonFranciscans.com.
Photo: Sister Jeanne d'Arc Untz presents a certificate of completion to Clinton Country Inn and Suites front desk clerk Heather Yarlam.