New law requires anti-trafficking training for hotels

Break the Cycle 200, a non-profit that raises funds to end human trafficking and which recently became part of the Hope for Justice family, is celebrating the passage of a bill that will ensure more Iowa hotels and motels provide their employees with human trafficking prevention training.

The law means that hotels and motels that fail to provide this training cannot accept public funds for stays, events, or state-related functions. Break the Cycle 200 played a vital role in getting House File 2259 passed.

Hope for Justice’s Rocky Vest (pictured, furthest left) said: “I am extremely excited about the newly signed law that prioritizes human trafficking prevention training for hotels and motels statewide.

“This is a big win in the fight to end human trafficking in Iowa. Over 70% of trafficking happens in hotels and motels.  The newly trained ‘eyes’ in Iowa’s hotels will lead to referrals for investigation, which will lead to recovering victims of modern slavery.”

The provisions of the new law take effect beginning January 2022.

Break The Cycle 200 and the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery (NAHT) helped form the Human Trafficking Coalition of Iowa last year to focus on the legislative process. One of the Coalition’s founding members is Angela Kenyon Davis, a highly experienced government relations attorney who had previously worked on anti-trafficking issues on a voluntary basis. She was retained in a professional capacity to draft an effective bill that would be practical to implement and that would not create a burdensome mandate for hotels and motels, learning lessons from the failure of a similar initiative during the previous legislative session.

She and the Coalition worked closely with the Iowa Department of Public Safety on the bill and engaged Break the Cycle 200 and NAHT members on legislator outreach.

These combined efforts greatly contributed to the unanimous passage of the bill through the Iowa House of Representatives and the Iowa Senate. It was signed into law on June 29th.

Hope for Justice and Break the Cycle wish to thank everyone involved in getting this measure passed, in particular Angela Kenyon Davis and also Maggie Tinsman, a retired legislator who fought tirelessly to build in-roads with legislative leadership. Her engagement and the representation of NAHT (which celebrated its 15th anniversary on June 23rd) within the Coalition was vital to its success.

We also wish to thank Representative Gary Mohr, who sponsored the draft bill in the House, and State Senator Chris Cournoyer, who helped move the bill quickly through the Iowa Senate where it passed unanimously on June 10th. Governor Kim Reynolds held a public bill signing on June 29th to celebrate the achievement, attended by members of Break The Cycle 200 and others who contributed to the process.

Hope for Justice’s business-focused training provider and consultancy, Slave-Free Alliance, offers expert training in anti-trafficking and counts some of the world’s biggest companies among its clients, including tourism, leisure and hotel brands. All profits are reinvested into charitable anti-trafficking projects. Any Iowa hotel or motel wishing to arrange human trafficking training can contact

A Summary of the Iowa Hotel Training Law:

– Beginning January 1st, 2022, a lodging provider may voluntarily complete and certify to the Department of Public Safety Commissioner that each of the lodging provider’s employees have completed human trafficking prevention training. This training must be completed for the hotel or motel to accept public funds for stays, events, or state-related functions.
– The human trafficking prevention training must be approved by the DPS Commissioner.
– A lodging provider shall maintain training records for each of the lodging providers’ employees pursuant to the rules adopted by the Commissioner.
– The human trafficking prevention training shall focus on the accurate identification and reporting of suspected human trafficking. There is a list of areas the training must cover.
– By December 31st, 2021, the Commissioner shall develop and maintain a system to certify the completion of human trafficking prevention training, including a certificate issued by the Commissioner for use by the lodging provider.
– A certificate will be valid for three years from the date the commissioner issues the certification.
– The commissioner is required to develop a readily accessible internet site that identifies lodging providers as being certified.
– A lodging provider who has not undergone training is ineligible to receive public funds to procure lodging or host a conference or meeting.

Photograph, top, shows: Rocky Vest (BTC 200), Maggie Tinsman, Angela Kenyon Davis, and BTC 200 members Kris Kunze, Jenny Kunze, Brad McClure and Brent Mitchell. Center: Governor Kim Reynolds

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