Iowa Human Trafficking Victim Shares Story - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Iowa Human Trafficking Victim Shares Story

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According to the FBI, human sex trafficking is today's most common form  of slavery.
 
An Iowa mom and daughter duo is trying to spread awareness about the issue.
 
The Clinton, Ia. YWCA invited human trafficking survivor and Iowa resident Brittany Phillips to speak for a group at Clinton Community College.
 
Phillips was accompanied by her adoptive mother Ruth Buckels for the speech that was part of the YWCA's Week Against Violence event.
 
Phillips said sharing her story is painful, even though it has been about six years since she fell victim to trafficking.
 
Phillips said she found herself in the middle of the problem after running away from what she describes as an abusive past. When she was about 15, she said she went to a grocery store in Cedar Rapids where she was approached by a man who offered her a modeling job. Starving and looking for a home, she said she took the man up on his offer.
 
She was ultimately taken to Chicago, she said, where a group of men forced her into prostitution.
 
After about two months of that, an undercover police officer discovered Phillips, she said. She was then put in foster care with the woman who would eventually become her adoptive mother, Ruth Buckels.
 
"There's hundreds of Brittanys in Iowa," Buckels said. "I mean, Brittany is not unique. She's unique in that she's speaking out, but she's not unique."
 
As for how far from unique Brittany really is - it's hard to tell.
 
But the National Human Trafficking Resource Center reports it's gotten 54 calls in Iowa about trafficking this year alone.
And in Illinois -- it's gotten about 363 calls so far, according to its website.
 
"Just because there aren't a lot of statistics, I want to show that there still are people it happens to," Phillips said. "Some cases just don't get brought up because people are scared."

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