Iowa Has a Child Trafficking Problem, and It’s Only Getting Worse
The organization Shared Hope reports regular grades for 49 of the 50 states in the U.S. regarding their efforts to fight and end child trafficking.
Iowa, of which has a multitude of truck stops, two interstates that meet in Des Moines, and an that economy rests on the back of agriculture, was handed an 'F' and a score of 48.5 out of 100 for how the state has handled the issue.
According to the report card handbook on sharedhope.org,
The resulting Report Cards on Child & Youth Sex Trafficking Legislative Framework analyzes 40 legal components for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. These laws are grouped into six policy issue areas.
The policy areas are as follows:
1. Criminal Provisions
2. Identification of and Response to Victims
3. Continuum of Care
4. Access to Justice for Trafficking Survivors
5. Tools for a Victim-Centered Criminal Justice Response
6. Prevention and Training
The site adds this as well:
The Report Cards on Child & Youth Sex Trafficking Legislative Framework assigns a point value of 0 to 2.5 for each of the 40 critical components of law included under the six policy issue areas noted above. That score is based on a written point allocation scheme. Those scores will be added together to determine the total score, which translates to the corresponding letter grade.
As a nation, the US has continued to skyrocket upward in the grading system put together by Shared Hope. From 2011 to 2019, the site credited America with growing from an overall grade of 59.1 and an F to 84.7 and a B. Almost one-third of the country received an A.
The outlook hasn't been quite as good for the Hawkeye State.
Over the six policy areas, this is how Iowa scored:
Criminal Provisions: 11/17.5
Identification of and Response to Victims: 12/27.5
Continuum of Care: 4.5/15
Access to Justice for Trafficking Survivors: 6.5/15
Tools for a Victim-Centered Criminal Justice Response: 7.5/10
Prevention and Training: 3/15
Speaking with kcci.com, Patrick Waymire, Assistant Director of the Division of Intelligence at the Iowa Department of Public Safety had this to say:
It's a serious problem. It's probably growing. A lot of it is undetectable that we're not able to see, and so it's hard for us to know exactly how much is going on in the state.
For that reason, Iowa has determined to work with those right in the thick of things, at least in one particular place of business -- hotels.
All hotel employees in Iowa will be required to complete human trafficking prevention training by Jan. 1, 2022, or the hotel will not be able to accept public funds.
Waymire elaborated on on why 1,500 lodging sites, including campsites and AirBNBs, will be required to take the training:
With human trafficking it's very hard to identify. So, if we have the front-line people that might actually see it, then that identification will be great for law enforcement, and they will be able to investigate those types of things and save victims.
There's groups that will travel on what we call a circuit, and in Iowa, it's also very unique. We have two major interstates coming through the state.
The training is available for free on StopHTiowa.org. The site is designed to teach Iowa's laws on human trafficking, help to identify human traffickers, and explain what to do if you see it.