Groups fighting human trafficking need support


You can help end human trafficking by speaking up in support of these organizations: Youth and Shelter Services and Garden Gate Ranch.

Youth and Shelter Services (YSS), with locations in Des Moines, Ames and Boone, provides emergency shelter for sex-trafficked youth and transitional housing for persons ages 18 to 24 who have experienced trafficking.

YSS trains hotel staff on how to recognize a trafficking situation. A training video can be viewed on the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery website. The video is thorough, but YSS highly recommends that the video training be facilitated by a person who is knowledgeable about human trafficking.

For more information or to schedule a staff in-service, contact Ruth Buckels at 515-233-2330 or

Another local organization addressing trafficking is Garden Gate Ranch, a nonprofit that assists persons forcibly held or being coerced into staying in their situation. The organization offers those coming out of trafficking shelter, healing, education and support to remain free.

The Garden Gate Ranch House is unique in that it offers shelter for mothers and children. A little-known fact: more than 60% of women held in sex trafficking have children in their custody, and their perpetrators use this as a tool to force women to stay by threatening to harm their children if they leave.

If you need help, call 888-373-7888.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.


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