Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Should a Minor Engaged in Commercial Sex Be Labeled as a Prostitute or a Victim?

            On December 13, 2012 a 17 year old girl in Iowa was arrested after she solicited an undercover officer for sex on  This girl told police that she was being forced into prostitution by her abusive boyfriend who has allegedly beat her and threatened to kill her.
Now, the Polk County, Iowa attorney’s office wants to prosecute her for prostitution as an adult.  The girl’s attorney, Paul White, has tried to argue that she should be protected by Iowa Code 710A which gives “an affirmative defense” to human trafficking victims who could not escape due to threat of injury.  The law is supposed to target pimps and others who have forced someone into the sex trade for financial gain.
A prosecutor’s job is to seek justice.  If the girl is prosecuted as a prostitute in this case, what justice is being served?  Charging this girl does nothing to prevent other people from being forced into the sex trade.  It does nothing to help improve this girl’s life and get her out of the sex trade.  Wouldn’t justice best be served here if the prosecutor, John Sarcone, focused his efforts not in prosecuting this minor who has been forced into commercial sexual activity but in prosecuting the pimp who forced her into the sex trade?
Iowa’s neighbor, Illinois, has passed sweeping legislation when it comes to minors in the sex trade.  The Illinois Safe Children’s Act was signed into law in 2010.  Instead of placing minors who have been found to be engaging in commercial sexual activity in the criminal system, the Act places these minors in the child protection system.  Illinois has recognized that minors (anyone under the age of 18) do not have the capacity to consent to their own commercial sexual activity.  The law also states that these minors are victims of exploitation and not perpetrators of prostitution.  Iowa has tried to come up with new human trafficking legislation, but it needs to go further, as do many other states The Illinois Safe Children’s Act should be a model for the nation.  It is only through protection not prosecution of minors, that justice can truly be served for those forced into the sex trade.

Laura Horner

Monday, January 21, 2013

Want to End Modern Day Slavery? Join IOFA's "Human Trafficking is OUR Problem Campaign"

Join IOFA's Human Trafficking is OUR Problem Campaign!

Want to be directly involved with building awareness about the crime of human trafficking? 

 It only takes three easy steps:
    1. Download and print out one of the attached signs: "Human Trafficking is OUR/MY Problem" - click the download button at the bottom of the two signs below and just send to your printer.
    2. Use your IPhone, camera, or computer camera to take a picture of you and anyone else you can fit in the photo holding the HTIOP sign. 
    3. Upload your photo(s) and send as an attachment via email to

Your image will be included with hundreds of others in a new IOFA video to be distributed to the public and our anti-trafficking networks. Recruit your friends, family members, pets, and everyone who wants to end modern day slavery.  Post the sign and these instructions to to your FB and Twitter pages.  

All of us are a part of the fight against human trafficking and modern day slavery.  It happens in OUR neighborhoods - in the city, suburbs, and farmlands. Many of us still think that human trafficking is a problem that happens far away, to non-U.S. citizens, to the "other."  Few realize how human trafficking directly affects us as individuals and how it is an issue the we all need to solve in our immediate communities.  

Please help us out!  Let us know if you have any technical difficulties or need assistance.

Thank you for your support!

The IOFA Team

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Farmhouse Fundraiser

Dear friends and supporters of IOFA!

We invite you to join us on January 24 at our winter fundraiser at Farmhouse for an evening of food and drinks! Your contributions will go toward IOFA's projects to remove youth from vulnerable situations and transition them into care.

Click here to purchase your ticket. Help us to spread the word and we look forward to meeting you all soon!