An anti-human trafficking panel will be held at Des Moines University on Friday. It aims to educate the public on recognizing and combating the enslavement of people for the purposes of forced labor or sex work.
One panelist is Cathy O'Keefe, director of the Quad Cities-based Family Resource's "Braking Traffik" program. She says no community is immune to the crime as it affects all ages, races and ethnicities.
"We have human trafficking through the agricultural industry, through factories, so those could be in rural communities," says O'Keefe. "We also have to remember that there's a demand for prostitution, a demand for sex trafficking, everywhere in all of our communities, and that's because a lot of sex trafficking is advertised online."
Earlier this year an anti-human trafficking office was established within the Iowa Department of Public Safety. Its aim is to better coordinate efforts to combat the crime.
The other panelists include Sen. Chuck Grassley, Nebraska's Human Trafficking Coordinator Stephan O'Meara, Staca Shahen of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and former FBI special agent Anna Brewer. The event will be moderated by Yasmin Vafa of Rights4Girls.