A young Iowa woman who escaped human trafficking at the age of 14 said, “It’ll always be a part of my life. It’s not something that’ll go away.” She is in the lifelong process of recovery.
The tri-state community will have an opportunity to build awareness and learn human trafficking prevention tactics through an exhibit coming to the lobby of the Roshek Building on Locust Street in Dubuque, Iowa. “Journey to Freedom: A Walk through Human Trafficking” will be on display Sept. 25 through Oct. 5, 2015, 7 a.m.–9 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m.–5 p.m. weekends. This free exhibit is sponsored by the Coalition of Women Religious and Associates against Human Trafficking in the Tri-State Area.
The exhibit opens at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, with a keynote address by Teresa Downing-Matibag, executive director of Network against Human Trafficking. She has given presentations on sex trafficking in the Philippines, Ecuador, Jamaica and United States and has been instrumental in the advancement of anti-trafficking legislation in Iowa. Downing-Matibag has extensive knowledge of human trafficking, intimate relationships in young adulthood, and the commercial sexual exploitation of women and youth.
“Journey to Freedom” highlights the reality that human trafficking is happening in our local communities by telling the story of Iowans who were trafficked and able to escape from their traffickers. Photos, written words, and displays of those trafficked will inform visitors of what trafficked victims experience. Visitors will have the opportunity to discover warning signs of trafficking and learn steps that might be taken to help prevent vulnerable persons from being victimized. Every 30 seconds, another person becomes a victim of human trafficking, according to a recent report by Building Partnerships to Eradicate Modern-Day Slavery. “Awareness is the first step toward prevention,” said coalition member Sister Joy Peterson, PBVM. “These are not nameless children being exploited, these are daughters, sons, nieces, cousins, and neighbors. We must do what we can to stop this form of modern-day slavery from happening, and it can start right here in Dubuque.”
For more information, contact Lisa Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org or (563) 583-9786.