Quad Cities organization holds symposium on immigration and human trafficking

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) -- Around 100 Quad Citizens gathered to gain some knowledge about immigration and human trafficking.

The free symposium called "Immigrants and trafficking among us" was held by One Human Family of the Quad Cities. The organization promotes diversity and inclusion in the Quad Cities area. The event took place Saturday morning at Eastern Iowa Community College in Downtown Davenport.

The idea to hold this seminar was sparked after the ice raid in Mount Pleasant in May 2018, where 32 individuals were arrested. Organizers of the event say they wanted to have this discussion because immigration is something that affects the whole community.

“The people that are being affected are two hours away. An hour and a half away in Mount Pleasant, but they are human beings. That's our goal is to promote the humanness of all our brothers and sisters,” Joanie Demmer, One Human Family QCA volunteer said.

Dr. Nicole Novak is a professor at the University Of Iowa College Of Public Health. She talked about her research on the impact of immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) raids in Iowa. She says immigration is not only a legal but health issue as well.

“If we care about people being healthy, well, and included in our communities. We need to think about immigration enforcement as one of the things affecting people's health,” she said.

Elizabeth Bernal presented alongside Dr. Novak. Bernal is with the organization Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project. The organization pays bail for Eastern Iowa immigrants imprisoned by ICE.

“If you take care of your family you have to take care of your community too. That means we are brothers and sisters. We are here to support each other,” she said.

This was the first of its kind event and one human family says it won't be the last. Local and area community members and organizations participated.