Recognizing trafficking, helping victims commendable

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: March 7 2014 | 10:59 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:16 am in

Amid the flurry of bills being debated and voted on by Iowa legislators, one topic in particular largely has flown under the radar of mainstream media: human trafficking. On Feb. 25, members of the House made a valiant effort to combat human trafficking in Iowa by unanimously supporting legislation. On Feb. 27, the Senate passed similar legislation.

If signed into law, these bills would toughen penalties for people who sexually exploit minors and provide services for victims to help them move forward in lieu of criminal prosecution. Commercial sexual exploitation of children is an unacceptable offense which turns children and youths into commodities.

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, 73 percent of human trafficking cases reported in Iowa involve minors. It is a major step for our state to not only recognize that human trafficking takes place within our borders, but also make changes to Iowa law in order to better serve victims.

Please join me in commending our legislators for their bipartisan work toward addressing human trafficking in Iowa.

Nicole Neverman

Iowa City

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