Bill Sets New Penalties For Property Owners Who Rent to Human Traffickers

Sat 5-1-2021

(Des Moines, IA)  --  A bill passed unanimously in the Iowa House and Senate gives prosecutors another legal tool to crack down on human trafficking. It targets people who set up businesses like nail and hair salons, spas and massage parlors, with workers who are actually victims of human trafficking. 

Representative Megan Jones of Sioux Rapids said this bill establishes a crime for knowingly letting your property be used for human trafficking. 

Victims of human trafficking will be able to avoid charges if they’re caught being forced to work in one of these businesses. 

Senator Brad Zaun of Johnson said the bill makes it harder to try to run an illicit spa or massage business using forced labor. 

The bill also calls on the Iowa Public Safety commissioner to establish a task force on human trafficking to understand the scope of the problem in Iowa and identify services for victims.