#minorsextrafficking | Cedar Rapids Mayor O’Donnell signs Human Trafficking Prevention Proclamation | Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) — Cedar Rapids Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell’s first order of business at her first city council meeting was to sign a proclamation declaring January Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness month. 

It was read by City Councilwoman Ashley Vanorny.

Teresa Davidson accepted the proclamation on behalf of the non-profit organization she co-founded, Chains Interrupted.

The group helps survivors of sex trafficking and educates the community about its signs.

Davidson had some advice for parents.

“Their kids are online today more than ever before and that there are so many predators online,” Davidson said. “And that the children don’t even understand that these are predators that they’re talking to on gaming devices, on instant messages, on social media. They think they’re talking to a child the same as age as them and that it’s safe to tell them information about themselves.”

Davidson also coordinates the Anti-Trafficking Program at Mercy Medical Center, which has seen a 59% increase over 2019 in referrals for sex trafficking.

Davidson says the pandemic accelerated the growth of one of the world’s fastest growing crimes, while prosecution of traffickers decreased during the pandemic.

“The city, as well as Cedar Rapids Police Department is committed and dedicated to reducing and hopefully, eliminating human trafficking within Cedar Rapids and ultimately, eliminate it forever, everywhere,” Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman said.

Governor Reynolds will sign her proclamation declaring January Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month on Thursday morning at the Capitol Building Rotunda.

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