Former Iowa Senator Maggie Tinsman has made it her mission to raise awareness of human trafficking. It all started when a colleague told her human trafficking was a problem in her neck of the woods.
“He looked at me and said, where are you from, Senator? When I said Iowa, he said, you’re perfect, you’re on Interstate 80, you’re on interstate 35 and 74, you have a giant rural area in which to hide it, but the main thing you have is an attitude that it’s not here, that’s exactly where it is,” said Tinsman.
Now, local organizations and police are actively pursuing traffickers. Braking Traffik volunteers make it their mission to combat human trafficking in our area. Executive Director Cathy O’Keefe monitors the internet for possible signs of human trafficking in the Quad Cities. “The pictures do not show her face, so that can sometimes be a red flag that she could potentially be under the age of 18.” In fact, teenagers are most at risk for being trafficked. The average age of human trafficking victims is 13.
“It’s a terrible situation because traffickers have so much leverage often times over the people being trafficked,” said Davenport Police Chief Frank Donchez, who says they too investigate escort sites to tap in to this underground society.
So, how are these criminals flying under the radar when the evidence is in plain sight? “They say their site is not intended for prostitution, it is merely intended for people to get to know one another or to set up a date, and that if people are misusing the site, that they don’t take responsibility for that,” said O’Keefe.
Learn more at Christine Souders’ WHBF TV News article: What the QC is doing to combat Human Trafficking.