Local organization sees increase in human trafficking survivors seeking help

DAVENPORT, Iowa--Human trafficking is modern day slavery that affects more than 21 million worldwide including some in the Quad Cities.

According to Braking Traffik, more human trafficking survivors from the area are seeking help.

The program increased from 39 to 60 survivors in the last year. The majority of them are from the Quad City area.

"They get to gain a new opportunity to live out their lives, to fulfill their dreams," said Mansfield.

Last year, 42 cases of human trafficking were reported in Iowa. Most of them were calls with tips from community members , according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. 

"Community members know their community best. They know the people they interact with at school they know the people they interact with at work . They're(...) most aware when something is off or something doesnt seem right." said Mansfield.

Mansfield says keeping community members aware of the signs of human trafficking is key to helping victims.

Signs of victims include inappropriately dressed for the weather, signs of physical abuse, and stealing food or basic needs.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness month and the group has a whole list of plans to continue educating alerting the community on what to look for and how to help.

"If we are educating everyone, we have that much likelihood that all survivors will access services and (get) the help that they need, said Mansfield.

The first awareness event will take place on Friday, January 5th, at the Island United Methodist Church in Muscatine at 3:00 p.m.

"Our ultimate goal is to continue to empower survivors provide assistance...and our long term goal is to end the demand for commercial sex and unsafe labor," said Mansfield.

Braking Traffik is a Family Resources anti-human trafficking program that provides services to survivors in several Eastern Iowa counties and Rock Island County in Illinois.

Full list of awareness events can be found here.