The recent story of 48 missing people in the last 13 days in Iowa includes those from right here in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas. Nothing sends shivers down my spine more than knowing children are being sold in human sex trafficking. There truly isn't enough we can do, not enough awareness can be raised. In the Quad Cities alone, 5 teens in the last 13 days are gone. In Cedar Rapids, there are 3 and 1 is out of Clinton.

What is happening? Why so many?

Here's a full list of names and ages of missing people in Iowa right now.

There's a sex trafficking problem in our community and state that isn't being talked about enough. Well, I'm going to talk about it. I must do my part. I hope you do, too, by sharing this blog post and taking a few minutes out of your day to learn more.

There's an organization in the QC called Braking Traffik. Get involved, support them, attend their events and do whatever it takes to stop human slavery.

According to SafeSupportiveLearning.ed.gov, here are the risk factors for children:

"Though there is no standard profile of a child-trafficking victim, several risk factors make certain children more susceptible. Reports indicate that traffickers often target children and youths with a history of sexual abuse, dating violence, low self-esteem, and minimal social support.

Runaway and homeless youths—male, female, and transgender—are at particularly high risk for becoming victims, though some trafficked youths continue living at home and attending school. There is also a strong correlation between sexually exploited youths and childhood sexual abuse, chronic maltreatment and neglect, and otherwise unstable home environments. Research findings estimate that between 33 and 90 percent of victims of commercial child sexual exploitation have experienced these types of abuses."

If you suspect human sex or labor trafficking, CALL 1 (888) 373-7888 or TEXT 'HELP' or 'INFO' to 233733.

Click HERE for a list of suspicious behaviors for possible trafficking from TraffickingResourceCenter.org.

Until I searched it, I didn't know an event was held in Rock Island, IL. on July 24, 2018 for MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women) with Sage Sisters of Solidarity. They are talking about it, getting information out there and bringing awareness to our community. Let's help in anyway we can.

Last, I'll leave you with the story and Quad City native, Vaness McNeal. This past May we became friends and I heard her speak at a Tedx talk in Cedar Rapids. My life contiues to be impacted by this woman and her courage to tell her story and the stories of so many. She's now a film director and producer of a film called The Voiceless.