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Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking launched to combat forced labor

DES MOINES — Several Iowa businesses and trade groups have joined a new alliance to combat human trafficking in the state. The Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking or I-BAT is an initiative by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s office.

“I believe our business community can make a difference,” Pate says. “We’re asking businesses that join I-BAT to commit to do two things: to learn something and to do something.”

Anyone filing the required paperwork for a new business in Iowa uses the registration portal in Pate’s office.

“My office is going to reach out to all 260,000 of them and ask them to become a member of I-BAT and join this cause to end human trafficking in Iowa,” he says.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline fielded nearly 300 calls from Iowa in 2020, leading to 78 criminal investigations.

“I’ve heard the stories from survivors and law enforcement about cases of human trafficking and they’re horrific,” Pate says. “…No human should be subjected to this and together we can put a stop to it.”

Pate says businesses can educate both employees and customers about the signs of human trafficking. The Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery already has a training program for hotel employees and is supporting Pate’s initiative.

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