Is Human Trafficking Bad at the IA State Fair? New Study Launched
There's nothing quite like the Iowa State Fair. People come from every corner of the state, musical acts flow in from different parts of the country, and there's always a game, different food, or exhibit to see for the first time.
It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all, but these events aren't all fun and games for everyone.
According to KCCI, the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) will be conducting a study at this year's fair "to determine if there is a problem with human trafficking at the fair and other large Iowa events. They also want to determine if the crimes take place at the fair, or at areas around the fairgrounds."
For those unfamiliar, Iowa is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to human trafficking.
Ray Fiedler of the Iowa Office to Combat Human Trafficking said this to the news station regarding the study:
We get information about large events being a draw for human trafficking. And that may or may not be the case. So we're actually looking into that right now.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline says that these are some signs a person will exhibit when they're in a human trafficking situation:
- Appear to be monitored by another person when talking or interacting with others
- Are being threatened by their boss with deportation or other harm
- Are working in dangerous conditions without proper safety gear, training, adequate breaks, or other protections
It adds signs of sex trafficking victims, too:
- Have a controlling parent, guardian, romantic partner, or “sponsor” who will not allow them to meet or speak with anyone alone or who monitors their movements, spending, or communications.
- Disclose that they were reluctant to engage in commercial sex but that someone pressured them into it.
- Live where they work or are transported by guards between home and workplace.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate said this on the first day of the fair:
And make sure you know where you're at and you know who you're with. But we're really asking to be the eyes and ears — a neighborhood watch concept here. If you see something that doesn't look right, we want you to let law enforcement know and let them sort it out.
The Iowa Office to Combat Human Trafficking encourages tip calls or emails if you or anyone you know sees signs of the crime. Their number is 515-725-6630 and their email is humantrafficking@