EICC joins Trafficking Free Zone initiative



Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) Board of Trustees has formally proclaimed the college a Trafficking Free Zone. The board officially approved a resolution at its May meeting, in support of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT) Trafficking Free Zones program.

EICC asks the citizens of its Clinton, Jackson, Muscatine, Scott, Cedar, Dubuque, Johnson and Louisa County service area to join in learning more about human trafficking and eliminating it in all its forms.  

“When more and more people know about human trafficking, what it looks like, where it is occurring and how to help prevent it, the demand for victims will decrease, and this heinous crime will come to an end,” said EICC Board Trustee and Franciscan Peace Center Community Outreach Director Lori Freudenberg. “When a business, organization, police department or in this case, an educational institution, signs this proclamation, they commit to educating their employees through online training on the USIAHT website to learn more about human trafficking.”

The Trafficking Free Zones educational program is locally promoted by the Sisters of St. Francis Franciscan Peace Center. It is a community-based initiative where education is the key component. It draws attention to the fact human trafficking is taking place, and steps will be taken to raise awareness and help prevent further victimization and, essentially, buyers. 

Through the training provided by the program, EICC faculty and staff will be better able to identify and help victims that are in school. Fully informed students are less likely to become victims, buyers or traffickers. Each Trafficking Free Zone declared school is listed in the media, on social media and on the USIAHT website as a Trafficking Free Zone, adding momentum to the movement against human trafficking in the U.S.

“We are very proud to declare ourselves a Trafficking Free Zone,” said EICC Chancellor Don Doucette. “Our goal is to shed light on the fact that human trafficking is happening in Iowa, and as we encourage the EICC community to educate themselves about this horrible crime, we will eliminate the demand and prevent our young people from being victimized.

"We are also proud to partner with the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking and the Sisters of St. Francis. We thank the Sisters of St. Francis for bringing this program to our attention and encouraging us to sign on.”

He encourages everyone to educate themselves by going to usiaht.org/training and taking the training themselves. 

The Sisters of St. Francis of Clinton, Iowa, Associates and Sojourners, oppose all forms of human trafficking, which violate basic human rights and exploit vulnerable people. They put forth their efforts to end this practice. The Clinton Franciscans, in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare, are called to contemplation and continual conversion and are sent as instruments of God's peace. They promote active nonviolence and peacemaking, seek justice for those marginalized and care for all creation.

Businesses, organizations and cities interested in learning more about becoming a Trafficking Free Zone, or interested in joining the Sisters’ Anti-Trafficking committee, can contact Lori Freudenberg, Community Outreach Director of the Franciscan Peace Center at 563-242-7611 or visit ClintonFranciscans.com