Trafficking Victim Hails Awareness of Human Trafficking in Iowa

The words, “I saw many things a 15-year-old girl shouldn’t see,” provide an unconventionally-wise commentary on the true story of Brittany Phillips’ experience as a victim of human trafficking.

Phillips, at age 14, was taken from her mom’s home in Des Moines, where she was sexually abused by her mom’s boyfriend, and placed in a treatment facility in Iowa City. She ran away with a friend and ended up in Cedar Rapids, where she encountered a series of men who repeatedly tried to sell or trade her for sex. Eventually she was shipped to Chicago, where the sex trade involved coercion and more.

She was saved by an undercover officer who discovered her by posing as a customer. “Not everybody gets the chance to get out of it the way I did,” Phillips said. “I was lucky. Not many are, and a lot of them are young girls, like I was.”

Human trafficking, according to Eastern Iowa officials, is not just an international and national problem. It’s local.  Iowa only passed a law fighting human trafficking in 2006.

Phillips has used her experiences as motivation to help others, and she has plans to get a criminal justice degree and work with law enforcement to find victims like herself.

Learn more at The Gazette article: Trafficking victim hails awareness.


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