12 Feb 2021
Iowa Freedom Virtual Summit

There is no one face of a human trafficking victim. Victims include those as young as six months, people of all genders, races, and abilities. The Iowa Freedom Summit is an online event designed to educate the public about human trafficking: to raise awareness of trafficking in Iowa, explain signs to watch for, and describe services that are available in the state. In 2017, there were 218 calls made from Iowa to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and there were 74 human trafficking cases reported that year. Those numbers have steadily increased since 2012. It is important that everyone knows what human trafficking looks like in order to rescue those who are its victims and prevent others from becoming victims.


The Iowa Freedom Summit will be held Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 11:30 am-1:00 pm and presented via Zoom. The program is free of charge. Participants are asked to register in advance at https://bit.ly/3mXmGzv


The program will feature six panelists include former Iowa Senator Maggie Tinsman, founder of Braking Traffik in Davenport, Iowa. Tinsman will speak on the importance of specific human trafficking legislation in Iowa and how to become involved in seeing that this legislation passes.


Teresa Davidson, Anti-human Trafficking Coordinator for Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, will explain Trauma-Informed Care. This presentation will briefly explore the way the brain changes and responds to trauma and the six guiding principles to a Trauma-Informed approach.


Jessica Rohrs, Director of Victim Services with Family Crisis Centers, will outline statewide resources for victims and survivors of labor and sex trafficking, explain how someone can access help, and describe the response one receives when they reach out for help.


Shannon Findlay, MD, MPH, CTropMed, is a member of the Johnson County Human Trafficking Coalition and the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics Human Trafficking Committee. She will present the one tenant of care for survivors: acknowledging individuals' autonomy on disclosure of their needs and situation. Careful consideration needs to be given in cases of minors and dependent adults. She will also present information on mandatory reporting.


Alyse Hardin is the Survivor Services Supervisor at Family Resources overseeing the Braking Traffik program in both Iowa and Illinois of the Quad Cities. Hardin will discuss the warning signs and red flags associated with human trafficking and provide information on the importance of connecting a survivor to victim services.


Heather Brown, a survivor and advocate from Iowa, will talk about her nine years of being controlled by an Iowa sex trafficking ring and what employers and community members can do to prevent human trafficking and slavery.


The Iowa Freedom Summit is being held in January to recognize Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The program is sponsored by the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery and the Clinton Franciscans' Franciscan Peace Center.


The Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery (NAHT) was Iowa's first and remains the only statewide volunteer organization devoted exclusively to ending human trafficking in all its forms. The Network is an Iowa-based organization focused on ending demand for sex and labor trafficking, through awareness-raising, prevention education, and working with organizations and communities to create trafficking-free zones across Iowa and beyond. To volunteer or to get more information go to https://iowanaht.org/


The Franciscan Peace Center was established by the Sisters of St. Francis as a 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. The Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa along with Sojourners and Associates have taken a corporate public stand opposing all forms of human trafficking which violate basic human rights and exploit vulnerable people. The Franciscan Peace Center anti-trafficking committee meets on the second Tuesday of every month at 9 am. All are welcome to attend. More information is available at www.ClintonFranciscans.com.


For more information, contact Lori Freudenberg, 563-242-7611.

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