On Friday, January 11, the Tri-State Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Slavery kicked off a new campaign to train hotel and motel staff members at Dubuque area hotels to recognize the signs of human trafficking. The training is being done in conjunction with the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery, and the Coalition on Human Trafficking of Omaha, Nebraska.
“Our goal is to help employees realize, recognize and respond appropriately when they see signs of trafficking,” said Sister Mira Mosle, BVM of the Tri-State Coalition.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds introduced this campaign to the state in 2017, and Mayor Roy Buol and Travel Dubuque President Keith Rahe have endorsed the initiative. “We encourage you and your employees to participate in this free education,” they wrote in a recent letter to managers of Dubuque lodgings. “The training is important because sex traffickers often use hotels and motels to exploit their victims, most often young girls and women.”
Personnel of more than 100 lodgings in Iowa have already been trained. The main authors of the program are retired state and federal law enforcement personnel who have investigated and prosecuted sex trafficking cases in Iowa and Nebraska.
The coalition aims to reach out to all hotels and motels in the Dubuque area, hoping to create a “trafficking-free zone.”
“Because human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal activity in the world, the coalition does its small part by focusing on education and by raising awareness of this activity,” said Sister Mary Lechtenberg, OSF.
The Tri-State Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Slavery engages in education and advocacy to eradicate human trafficking.