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IOWA  —  A former investigator for the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation who has been active in the fight against human trafficking hopes other Iowans will get involved.

Human trafficking is the method of kidnapping or entrapping people to sell them for sex. Studies show victims in Iowa are typically young girls between 16 and 19 years old. Mike Ferjak says while Interstates 80 and 35 alone make Iowa a hot spot for human trafficking operations, there are other factors that play major roles.

“It’s an issue because we have events that happen in the state of Iowa that draw trafficking. And they’re all wholesome, wonderful events, but wherever there’s a crowd, trafficking will follow because that’s their market,” said Ferjak. “The need to be aware is chief among this. You hear trafficking referred to incorrectly as prostitution, you hear it talked about in ways that puts the blame on the victim and not the offender. And we really need to change the public dialogue about that.”

Ferjak will be speaking on Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. at the Saints John and Paul Parish Hall in Altoona. The event is free and open to the public, and it will include a panel for questions at the end.