Mayor Scott Maddasion recently signed a proclamation to designate the city a Trafficking Free Zone, a program created by the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT) and locally promoted by the Sisters of St. Francis Franciscan Peace Center to help communities come together to arrest and prosecute sex buyers instead of the victims who are being sold, educate officials and citizens about the crime of sex trafficking, and use technology to reduce demand.
The City of Clinton is the first city in Iowa to publicly and officially declare that human trafficking will not be tolerated in the community.
"The city of Clinton has proclaimed we will continue efforts to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of our children and vulnerable adults, and mitigate the associated public safety, economic, and health risks to our community,” said Mayor Maddasion. "We are proud to partner with the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking and the Sisters of St. Francis to declare our city a Trafficking Free Zone and serve notice to all potential sex traffickers and buyers in Clinton and the surrounding area that our most vulnerable citizens will not be bought and sold. We thank the Sisters of St. Francis for bringing this program to our attention and encouraging Clinton to sign on. We also encourage all Clinton citizens to educate themselves by going to https://usiaht.org/training/ and take the training!”
USIAHT's program focuses on raising awareness and reducing the demand for sex-trafficked victims through collaboration with community members and leaders, law enforcement, businesses, schools, healthcare organizations, churches, and the media. Professionals are equipped with awareness resources, strategies to reduce the risk of human trafficking, and knowledge of how technology is used in trafficking situations. When these sectors are activated and working in unison, the Trafficking Free Zone community can expect to see a significant decline in demand.
The Sisters of St. Francis of Clinton, Iowa, Associates and Sojourners, oppose all forms of human trafficking which violate basic human rights and exploit vulnerable people. They put forth their efforts to end this heinous practice. The Clinton Franciscans, in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare, are called to contemplation and continual conversion and are sent as instruments of God's peace. They promote active nonviolence and peacemaking, seek justice for those marginalized, and care for all creation.
Anyone interested in joining the Sisters’ Anti-Trafficking committee should contact Lori Freudenberg, Community Outreach Director of the Franciscan Peace Center, 563-242-7611, or visit www. ClintonFranciscans.com.