Iowa efforts to combat human trafficking

DES MOINES – In preparation for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate and Story County Deputy Sheriff Elizabeth Quinn are working together to raise awareness about the dangers of the crime and ways to prevent it.

Secretary Pate launched the Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking (IBAT) initiative in January 2022, which encourages its nearly 700 members to “Learn Something” and “Do Something” to raise awareness and combat human trafficking across the state. IBAT is a component of Iowa’s Safe at Home program, which offers address confidentiality to survivors of trafficking, sexual abuse, domestic violence, assault, and stalking.

Iowa law enforcement agencies are critical in investigating human trafficking. Deputy Sheriff Elizabeth Quinn with the Story County Sheriff’s Office has dedicated much of her career tackling human trafficking and spent six months working in the Human Trafficking and Child Protection Division with International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).

“Human trafficking happens right here in Iowa and its prevalence is rapidly increasing, so it’s critical for every Iowan to recognize the signs of human trafficking and understand how to prevent it,” said Secretary Pate. “The IBAT program is just one of many ways we can raise awareness, and collaboration with law enforcement and other advocates allows us to take major steps in ending the horrors of human trafficking.”

Secretary Pate and Deputy Sheriff Quinn discussed their efforts with media outlets from around Iowa on Thursday.

“Human trafficking can occur anywhere within our state, and the first step in stopping this crime lies in awareness,” said Deputy Sheriff Quinn. “Iowans should be on the lookout for signs of human trafficking among neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers, particularly things like sudden changes in appearance and behavior, isolation, or missing important events often such as school or work. Together, we can all serve on the frontlines of this issue.”

To learn more about human trafficking, how to recognize signs, and ways to prevent it, or to join Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking, visit

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