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Pieper Lewis’s Sentencing Places Spotlight on Need for Legislation

NAHT Asks For Your Help Once Annually on November 29th

Giving Tuesday 2022

On November 29th, the annual GivingTuesday global fundraising campaign will be launched. This is a huge effort to promote donations to nonprofits such as the NAHT. Grassroots donors gave nearly $2 billion worldwide on GivingTuesday in 2021. We hope to inspire you to go to our NAHT website at https://iowanaht.org/donate-now/ to make a donation between now and Tuesday, November 29th. If you prefer, go to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/IowaNAHT/ and donate through Facebook. Or you may simply write a check. Send your donation to our office at 5508 West Lincoln Way, Ames, IA 50014. Please make your checks out to Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking. Thanks for your help.

Pieper Lewis's Sentencing Placed Spotlight on Need for Iowa Legislation

Pieper Lewis was just 15 years old when she ran away from an abusive home and found herself subject to rape and human trafficking. The excessive trauma endured by Lewis led her to snap and kill one of her rapists. Lewis's sentencing emphasizes the need to address the flaws and omissions in Iowa's laws. Like other under-18 trafficking survivors, Pieper Lewis is a victim of traumatic exploitation and should not be forced to further suffer at the hand of our legal system.

You may remember that the NAHT worked with legislative leaders to bring forward House File 2464 in the 2022 legislative session which would have put Iowa in a position to join the 30+ other states who have passed Safe Harbor and expungement laws. This bill was intended to improve laws for victims of human trafficking. The bill was passed through the House nearly unanimously but failed to get across the finish line after concerns were raised in the Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

Iowa working group Pieper Lewis

Safe Harbor legislation remains a top priority for the NAHT. To continue the discussion and move these issues forward, on October 6th, 2022 the NAHT convened a workgroup to look at the concerns presented, discuss recommendations, and find a resolution to ensure timely passage of the Safe Harbor bill during the 2023 session. Maggie Tinsman, Chair of the NAHT Legislative Advocacy Committee, sent invitations to key legislators, , state agency heads, and others.

This workgroup was facilitated by Chief Ricardo Martinez, the Chief of Police and Public Safety Director of Nevada, Iowa. The goal was to break down barriers between the silos between state agencies and anti-trafficking organizations to realize how we can best support these underserved traumatized individuals while building consensus among all the stakeholders.

Twenty invited guests attended the meeting held in the Iowa State Capitol Building.

There was a healthy two-hour discussion (see photo of the meeting above). A second meeting will be set with the task of looking at other state Safe Harbor laws and coming up with recommendations for Iowa legislation.

600 Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking

This update by Sydney Fox from the Iowa Secretary of State's Office –

Crescenti's IBATIowa Businesses Against Trafficking (IBAT) is a statewide effort to “Learn Something” about the signs of human trafficking and “Do Something” to raise of this horrific crime. In 2020, the Iowa Attorney General's Office identified 558 victims and 158 victims. It's time we take a stand against human trafficking.

Since launching in January 2022, IBAT has grown tremendously, with close to 600 members located in 89/99 counties. The Network Against Human Trafficking has been a wonderful resource for IBAT members with trainings, informational flyers and hundreds of stickers being hung up at various businesses. In the past months, we've had large corporations like Hy-Vee, Boone Scenic Valley Railroad, and multiple counties join IBAT; saw IBAT decals hung up at the Iowa State Fair and sent Casey's decals for all of their locations; and have heard from numerous Rotary Clubs that they are holding trainings for their members.

We ask that you continue the fight to end human trafficking by joining IBAT. Please apply here: https://ibat.iowa.gov/apply/

The Iowa Secretary of State also administers an address confidentiality program, Safe at Home (SAH). Which provides a legal substitute address, mail-forwarding and confidential voter registration/absentee voting to survivors of trafficking, domestic violence, and other violent crimes. For more information visit SafeatHome.iowa.gov.

North Iowa Coalition Against Trafficking

A new coalition has emerged serving 12 North Central Iowa counties. Melody Stone is a highly accomplished and knowledgeable founder and leader. By her side is Lyna Debner who is a member of the NAHT Board of Directors.

North Iowa Coalition Against TraffickingAt a recent NAHT Board meeting Lyna shared just two of the many awareness initiatives launched by the new Coalition. This fall there was a large RV Winnebago Rally and the coalition had a human trafficking information booth that was visited by hundreds of RVers. Jared Arbegast from the Iowa DOT spoke to the RVers about how they could help to identify and report suspicious human trafficking activity while on the road.

The coalition is offering first responders and law enforcement training throughout the 12-county service area. They are distributing hundreds of rescue stickers to businesses and posting them in public bathrooms. They are visiting with county Boards of Supervisors to discuss human trafficking and to solicit support. The photo with this article was taken at a recent Floyd County Board meeting in Charles City. The Board of Supervisors signed an anti-trafficking proclamation.

NAHT Now Accepting Anti-Trafficking Award Nominations

Do you know of an agency, coalition, survivor, or individual, who is doing great work in anti-trafficking in Iowa? Someone or some entity that inspires or supports others as they work to make change happen in our state? Did you know that you can nominate them for an Outstanding Anti-Trafficking Service Award? Click the proceeding link if you would like to read about past nominee: https://iowanaht.org/about-us/network-awards/

Anti-trafficking work takes a lot of heavy lifting and hard work. The work can be thankless, lonely, and sometimes seem like it goes unnoticed. A “thank you” and an “I see you” can go a long way.

Please take advantage of this opportunity to lift someone up and recognize the contributions being made to the Iowa Trafficking movement is here! For more criteria information and to submit a nomination click this link: https://iowanaht.org/wp-content/uploads/Blank-Outstanding-Anti-Trafficking-Service-Award-nomination-form-2022.pdf

Rotary Reaches Latino Community with Awareness Message

The West Liberty, Iowa Children's Festival/Fiesta Latino was held this fall and The Rotary Club of West Liberty invited Sara K. from Braking Traffik (a program of Family Inc. based in Davenport) who set up an information booth on human trafficking. Educational information was shared as well as materials distributed regarding human trafficking. Sara K. also was invited to make a presentation about Braking Traffik to the 200 Fiesta Latino attendees, the majority of which were Latinos from various countries. Her English presentation was then interpreted into Spanish for the attendees. She received a warm round of applause after her presentation.

The Rotary Club of West Liberty partnered with the local police department and also offered fingerprint kits to parents. Over 80 fingerprint kits were distributed.

Human Trafficking Awareness Video – Tanya's Story

Thank you to our NAHT blog subscribers for your ongoing commitment to raising awareness about human trafficking. As we continue to share survivor voices, we wish to share another story of hope submitted by HEAL Trafficking Education. Please let Tanya's story serve as a reminder of how powerful and transformative survivor services are in our collective effort to respond to human trafficking in our communities.

Tanya was a young mom and college student when a trafficker began exploiting her. One evening, she presented at an emergency department with symptoms of a severe UTI. Tanya was alone and in excruciating pain. While her physical symptoms were treated, the red flags in Tanya's situation were unfortunately missed. She was not invited into a warm and normalizing conversation that could have offered her the space to explain how she ended up in the hospital. Tanya's story allows us to further appreciate healthcare professionals in their interactions with patients who may be experiencing human trafficking or other forms of violence.

Support Every Survivor Report

A recently released report expands the available data on:  survivors' finances, particularly how the pandemic impacted them; how survivors' intersecting identities affect their experiences and the harm they've been subjected to; and survivors' needs, their goals, and what resources will enable them to achieve success, including what alternatives to police would most help survivors feel safe and supported.

Read the report: Support Every Survivor: How Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Sexuality and Disability Shape Survivors' Experiences, and Needs: https://www.freefrom.org/support-every-survivor/?mc_cid=95821e8bd9&mc_eid=271570e62e

Help to Know When Your Child is in Danger of Being Groomed by Traffickers

There is some good for those of you with kids who are on Snapchat. In brief, Snapchat has added a new Family Center Control which allows parents to view their child's friends and who they are messaging. The child must agree to this, and parents won't be able to view the child's messages. For a practical look at this new control, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8xd94LaR54. Here is also Snapchat's explanation of it: https://snap.com/en-US/safety-and-impact

Information, Articles, and Resources


This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from its original location.


PBJ Learning is a leading provider of online human trafficking training, focusing on awareness and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials online course is used worldwide to educate professionals and individuals how to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to potential victims. Learn on any web browser (even your mobile phone) at any time.

More stories like this can be found in your PBJ Learning Knowledge Vault.



This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from its original online location.


PBJ Learning is a leading provider of online human trafficking training, focusing on awareness and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials online course is used worldwide to educate professionals and individuals how to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to potential victims. Learn on any web browser (even your mobile phone) at any time.

More stories like this can be found in your PBJ Learning Knowledge Vault.