Human trafficking is the stealing freedom for profit. Some examples include victims being forced or tricked by physical or psychological means into working in inhumane work conditions or for commercial sex. As of December 2019, there had been 98 reported cases of human trafficking in Iowa over the course of the 2019 calendar year alone. This is important to know, because it reminds us that human trafficking can and does happen here. It doesn’t only happen in large cities or third world countries.
Human trafficking can happen anyone. And it’s often done by someone the victim knows, like a romantic partner, parent, family member, or family friend. The methods used for control include emotional and physical abuse, as well as isolation and economic abuse.
Do your part
We can all do our part to help identify people that may be victims of human trafficking by keeping our eyes and ears open for these signs. If you believe you have witnessed someone who is a victim of human trafficking, please call 911. Do not attempt to rescue the individual yourself as you may put yourself or the victim in danger.
For more information and resources, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 or text “Help” to BEFREE (233733). You may also seek information about services for survivors from the Iowa Crisis Line at 800-770-1650 or text “iowahelp” to 20121.
help is available
If you or someone you know are currently or have been a victim of human trafficking, please know there’s help out there, including caring therapists like myself at Covenant Family Solutions who are professionally trained to be able to provide support and guidance.
What happened to you was not your fault and it does not define who you are. You are a person who is deserving and capable of love and friendship. There are people who care and want to support you on your journey as you recover from what happened to you. Please reach out for help.