Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
Lyft

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

December 13, 2018 Human trafficking a problem in Iowa
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

While many people think that human trafficking is an international issue or a problem in the big cities, it is a crisis occurring right here in Iowa.

Betty Buitenwerf, a volunteer with Chains Interrupted, educated members of the Wellman Rotary Club on Wednesday, Dec. 5 on the issue of human trafficking and the organization’s efforts to curb it.

Chains Interrupted is an organization dedicated to combating human trafficking.

“It’s a modern-day form of slavery,” Buitenwerf said, pointing out that the two predominant types of human trafficking are for sex and labor.

She cited information from the Iowa Attorney General’s office that says the average age of human trafficking victims in Iowa is from 16 to 18.

She added that 80 percent of sex trafficking victims are female, while 54 percent are minors.

Buitenwerf showed a “heat map” of Iowa highlighting the highest areas of human trafficking in the state. While population centers like Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Waterloo were “hot spots,” Buitenwerf noted that even small towns like Carroll and Denison had high occurrences of human trafficking.

“Four or five years ago, there was a human trafficking sting in Hills,” she added.

Buitenwerf said that traffickers target vulnerable individuals to recruit and groom.

“Traffickers are charming and patient,” she said. “They try to make them feel like part of a family.”

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