Human trafficking is the third largest industry in the world and no community is immune. Human trafficking - using force, fraud, or coercion to exploit someone for sex or labor affects all ages, races, and ethnicities. The problem is real and happening right here in the Quad Cities.
Family Resources' Braking Traffik program is dedicated to ending human trafficking in Iowa and Illinois. Founded by former Iowa Senator Maggie Tinsman in 2008, the nonprofit continued to grow under the leadership of Braking Traffik,s executive director, Cathy O'Keeffe. In April 2016, Braking Traffik merged with Family Resources, allowing the program to further expand services. Braking Traffik provides community outreach and education, legislative advocacy and comprehensive direct services to survivors of human trafficking in Scott, Jackson, Clinton, Muscatine, and Louisa counties in Iowa, and Rock Island County in Illinois.
In fiscal year 2017 (July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017), Braking Traffik survivor advocates provided on-going direct service to 39 identified survivors of human trafficking in the Quad Cities. Of those survivors, the average age of a minor was 15 years old and the average age of an adult was 34 years old. In addition to direct service, survivor advocates also conduct a weekly support group called S.T.O.R.M. (Survivors of Trafficking Overcoming Relationship Manipulation) for women in the Scott County Jail and for residents of the Family Resources shelter. Psycho-educational groups are also conducted monthly to youth in the Residential Treatment Programs at Family Resources and at the Scott County Juvenile Detention Center.
Braking Traffik has conducted trainings to thousands of professionals and community members including law enforcement, medical personnel, school administrators, and other agencies across the region. More than 5,500 Iowa and Illinois students, parents ,and teachers have gone through Braking Traffik,s curriculum, "Any Kid, Anywhere." The school program is presented to middle and high school students to teach them about the definitions and signs of trafficking, risk reduction, and how to end the demand. The program includes the viewing of Braking Traffik,s award-winning documentary "Any Kid, Anywhere: Sex Trafficking Survivor Stories," featuring three Iowa survivors of human trafficking. The documentary is used across the nation in trainings and awareness initiatives.
Furthermore, Braking Traffik also provides training to hotel and motel staff through the "Hotel/Motel Project" to raise awareness on the signs of trafficking and how staff can identify and respond to suspected incidences of human trafficking.
Legislatively, Braking Traffik works endlessly to strengthen Illinois, Iowa, and federal laws on human trafficking to provide justice for survivors. Due to Braking Traffik,s state wide anti-trafficking efforts in Iowa and Illinois, they were awarded the 2016 FBI Director,s Community Leadership Award. This award recognizes Braking Traffik for their strong community partnerships and coordinated efforts made among social service providers, medical personnel, law enforcement, and faith-based groups to ensure survivors of sex and labor trafficking receive the care they need.
Through awareness and education, communities locally and across the country can better identify the problem and assist survivors.
Our purpose at FlexPAC, which is why we do what we do, is to "Make everything we touch better. Our People, our Customers, and our Community." We have partnered with the team at Braking Traffik to help support their efforts in stopping local trafficking. We are investing our time and resources into helping them raise money, which will provide financial resources to house victims and help them get back on their feet, post-rescue. When our teammate, Kelly Adamson, approached Cathy about an opportunity to provide support, it was evident that financial resources was the most prominent and applicable impact to be made.
We have set-up a YouCaring page where our customers, employees, and community members can go and donate whatever they feel compelled to. The Quad Cities Director of Sales, Dusty Brown, has agreed to a Pies for Prize challenge, issued by Kelly and the sales team in the QC. If we are able to raise $1000 for Braking Traffik, Dusty will take a pie to the face by each one of his sales team, that,s 7 pies. This will be recorded, and posted to our social media outlets, as well as sent out to all that have donated.
Please consider donating to this worthy cause and help the FlexPAC team hit their goal of $1000! If you had the chance to throw a pie in your boss's face, wouldn't you want to hit your goal?