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New campaign offers human trafficking training to Dubuque hotels

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) – A new campaign in Dubuque is looking to educate hotel employees about the signs of human trafficking.

“Taking this transformative knowledge to the hospitality industry is truly taking the work to the front lines of human trafficking,” said Suzie Wright, the Executive Director of Set Free Dubuque.

Seventy-five percent of all human trafficking occurs in hotels. That’s according to several anti-human trafficking groups that are offering free training to Dubuque hotels, hoping to educate them on the warning signs.
The grand harbor was the first to complete this training.

“The true honor in this is going to be when Suzie tells me she’s handed these all over the city to every hotel in town,” said Hotel Manager Steve Geisz.

People like tonya Millard work with victims of human trafficking in Dubuque — saying many of them have nothing.

“We get victims come to our door with the clothes on their back,” said Millard.

The project that hopes to train hotels in the tri-state area is lead by Sister Mary Lechtenberg and Sister Mira Mosle.

“The people doing the training don’t have the staff to do every place simultaneously and so they started in the west and moved east. So, in a sense, we’re the last part of the state to have this training offered,” said Mosle.

Mosle and Lechtenberg can both provide the training, which was created by a former FBI agent.
The women agree that they’ll keep pushing to accomplish their goal.

“What we’ve done all our lives is build a kind of confidence. We can do this. We can do it together. That’s the important thing,” said Lechtenberg.

You can email the Tri-State Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Slavery at if you would like more information about the hotel project or you would like to help volunteer.

National Hotline: 888-373-7888 or text INFO to BEFREE (233833)

Iowa Hotline: 800-770-1650 or text IowaHelp to 20121

Set Free Dubuque

Dubuque YMCA/YWCA Victim Services Shelter

Author Profile Photo

Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter

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