Pieper Lewis Deserves Better

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Please Advocate for SF 340: The Iowa Safe Harbor Bill

The NAHT Legislative Committee led by Maggie Tinsman is asking you to please advocate for this Safe Harbor Bill, which has been introduced into the Iowa Senate. Please contact your local legislators and let them know how important this bill is for the protection of children who commit crimes while under the control of a trafficker.

This bill directs the commissioner of public safety to establish a human trafficking task force to investigate human trafficking (trafficking) of minors in the state, identify services available for minor victims of trafficking, identify barriers that prevent minor victims of trafficking from seeking legal assistance or medical attention, research and recommend a model of rehabilitative services for minor victims of trafficking, create a procedure to be followed by all officers statewide if a law enforcement officer encounters a minor who may be a victim of trafficking, and create a pathway for the implementation of a safe harbor law that prohibits the prosecution of minor victims of trafficking and directs minor…(To continue reading the bill tap here)

To read about three bills the NAHT is supporting click here: Supported Bills by the NAHT. The three bills include the following:

  • HF 125: This bill creates exceptions to the $150K restitution requirement
  • SF 229: Bill relating to sexual abuse of a child
  • HF 321: Increases penalties for sexual exploitation of a child

2023 Iowa Outstanding Anti-Trafficking Service Awards

The recently presented six 2023 Outstanding Anti-Trafficking Service Awards. The presentations took place at the Rotunda of the Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines, Iowa.

Governor Reynolds was scheduled to present the awards but needed to prepare for her inauguration the next morning. Instead, the Governor asked Secretary of State Paul Pate to stand in for her. The SOS is pictured with each of the six honorees along with Maggie Tinsman, NAHT Board Secretary and John Chesser, NAHT Vice-Chair. This award was originally created in 2016 through a grant from the Rotary Club of Ames, Iowa, and is now administered by the NAHT and the Governor's Office.

Each of this year's awardees is very well deserving. As you read a short summary of each of their contributions to the fight against trafficking, we are sure that you will agree that they have made a significant addition to Iowa's fight against modern slavery.

If you know an Iowan who has made a significant contribution to Iowa's fight to end trafficking, please nominate them by completing the nomination form you will find here.

Alka Khanolkar – Keokuk, IA

The 2021-22 Rotary District 6000 Governor, Alka Khanolkar, set the and prevention of human trafficking in Iowa and globally as her major goal during her term. Despite this growing crime not being on the radar of the 65 Iowa Rotary Clubs or within Rotary International, she was incredibly successful at engaging both Iowa Clubs and Rotary International to join the fight against modern slavery. Rotary International is made up of over 5000 clubs in 90 countries and 1.2 million members.

Leland SchipperLeland Schipper – Des Moines, IA

Coach Schipper has made an outstanding contribution to raising awareness of human trafficking and the need for advocacy for victims and survivors. He called on Iowans to come to the aid of a survivor who had been his 9th-grade student before becoming homeless and sex trafficked at the age of 15. He single-handedly set up a GoFundMe page for Pieper Lewis, which resulted in an outpouring of support by 15,800 donors who contributed $562,638 far exceeding the original $150,000 goal, which was the required amount of a restitution payment Pieper was court-ordered to pay to the family of a man who had raped Pieper five times.

Tish YoungTish Young – Cedar Rapids, IA

Volunteer extraordinaire at Chains Interrupted for seven years. She has been working tirelessly in the fight against human trafficking from the moment she heard the Chains Interrupted plea for help in 2014. Tish has volunteered countless hours. She has trained thousands of people, designed awareness and fundraising events, recruited and supported other volunteers, and assisted with direct service to survivors.

IMT InsuranceIMT Insurance – Des Moines, IA

As an early member of Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking (IBAT), IMT Insurance has demonstrated an outstanding response to the Secretary of State's challenge for Iowa businesses to “learn something” and “do something” to fight human trafficking. IMT received four nominations for the Outstanding Service Award. IMT's commitment to combat modern slavery resulted in the donation of three vehicles for use by staff members. These three staff members utilize the vehicles to investigate and rescue victims of human trafficking. IMT has also donated money to support Dorothy's House.

Melody StoneMelody Stone –  Mason City, IA

Melody Stone is relentless in her passion for bringing modern slavery/human trafficking to an end. She had three nominators for the Outstanding Service Award. Melody is the founder of the North Iowa Coalition Against Human Trafficking, which had been an underserved region of Iowa. She spearheaded interventions within 11 northern Iowa counties. Melody is also a licensed trauma-trained clinical therapist who works with survivors. She is highly qualified but what is more impressive is her commitment to sharing her knowledge with others. She has launched human trafficking training for first responders,  and many other community groups. Melody also organizes awareness events but also coalition building, service to survivors, prevention programs, and public policy advocacy. Recently, Melody and the North Iowa Coalition have partnered with the faith community to create Iowa's first-ever statewide Anti-Trafficking Day of Prayer on January 18, 2023.

Sister Shirley FineranSister Shirley Fineran – Sioux City, Iowa

Sister Shirley began her heroic work to fight human trafficking in 2015 by establishing a board of directors to promote awareness, education, and collaboration with the ultimate goal of establishing a home for adult survivors of . With a clear vision of service to survivors, Sister Shirley received the gift of a large house and the surrounding 35 acres for what was to become Lila Mae's House. The first of twelve participants entered Lila Mae's in January 2021. Without state or federal funding, Sister Shirley and her board have worked hard to raise funding for remodeling, staff, and operating expenses. Lila Mae's was the first and remains the only residential service dedicated solely to trafficking survivors in the Siouxland service area. Sister Shirley is a retired Briar Cliff University Professor of Social Work and a four-year member of the Network Board of Directors.

“Pieper Lewis Deserves Better” An Address by Leland Schipper

Each of the six honorees had the opportunity to speak after receiving their Outstanding Anti-Trafficking Service Awards. Following the award event, several of those present asked for a copy of Leland Schipper's speech “Pieper Lewis Deserves Better”. His words about Pieper are worth reading. His address follows below.

“Thank you, George. I'm extremely humbled to be receiving this recognition. While my contribution to this work was very visible, it is Pieper Lewis that deserves this award—for her strength, her persistence, and her willingness to let me and others tell her story that has reached so many people.

Pieper was only 15 years old when she was trafficked in an apartment complex only a few miles from here. She ultimately defended her body and soul by killing one of the men that purchased her, drugged her, and raped her repeatedly. Pieper was charged as an adult with first degree murder. Her trafficker has never been charged.

It took a while, but ultimately a community surrounded Pieper and advocated for her.”

To continue reading this speech, click here: “Pieper Lewis Deserves Better” An Address by Leland Schipper

Chains Interrupted Will Change its Focus to Child/Youth Survivors

What follows is a 2022 annual progress report from Chains Interrupted (Based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and a shift in focus for 2023. This list was submitted by Teresa Davidson and Tish Young.

  • Over 100 survivors served through advocacy, our Beauty from Ashes programming and our Harbor Home.

To continue reading this article, click here: Chains Interrupted Will Change its Focus to Child/Youth Survivors

National Human Trafficking Hotline Stickers are Now Required to be Posted in Restrooms of all US Planes, Buses, Trains, & Airports

A federal bill was recently signed into law by President Biden. The legislation aims to prevent human trafficking by adding the National Human Trafficking Hotline Number (888)-3737-888 to the restrooms of all U.S. planes, buses, and trains, as well as airports, bus stations, and rail stations.

Restrooms are often the only time that a victim will have the opportunity to get away from traffickers, making it one of the first lines of defense in getting someone the help that they need. In addition, those that suspect human trafficking are encouraged to call the national hotline to report what they have seen or suspected.

The NAHT has been distributing Iowa and national hotline stickers for the past several years. The English version sticker is shown below. A Spanish language sticker is also available. Approximately 15,000 NAHT stickers have been distributed in Iowa. Currently, several Iowa Rotary Clubs are distributing stickers in their communities. The NAHT thanks Rotary and all those other volunteers who have been posting stickers. Just recently, the Department of Public Safety Office to Combat Human Trafficking informed the NAHT of a report of suspected trafficking that was occurring out of a Hy-Vee bathroom and parking lot. The report resulted in a DPS intervention. Fareway has now posted NAHT stickers in all their bathrooms statewide. If you would like to volunteer to post stickers tap here: Rescue Sticker Distribution Guidelines
National Human Trafficking Hotline Sticker

2022 Annual Report of the Iowa Office to Combat Human Trafficking

The Office to Combat Human Trafficking recently released its 2022 Annual Report. The Department of Public Safety 11-page report can be accessed at the following link: 2022 Annual Report. Patrick Waymire heads the Office to Combat Human Trafficking and Ray Fiedler is the Hotel/Motel Employee Training Coordinator.

Information, Articles, and Resources


PBJ Learning is a leading provider of human trafficking training, focusing on awareness and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials 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.