January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

As you may know, January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and 10 years ago, Chrysalis dedicated a significant amount of time raising awareness, hosting speakers, and giving presentations about this danger, its prevalence, how difficult it is to recognize, and the best ways to prevent trafficking, particularly sex trafficking of girls and women. Our concern was informed by the fact that the average age a girl becomes a victim of human trafficking is 12 years old – the age of girls in our Chrysalis After-School programs.

Here is some information we used when giving presentations, and attached are a few other materials we developed that may help you and others better understand this horrific issue:


The sex trafficking of girls and women is a pervasive and systemic problem happening throughout Iowa and our nation.  Fueled by poverty and violence, along with the societal tolerance of men purchasing sex with young girls, human trafficking affects us all.

The problem itself is difficult to address because victims are kept hidden from the public.  Families, friends, and neighbors don’t recognize victimization when they see it.  And for those who are trapped, fear, violence, and a sense of abandonment are all they know.

Chrysalis is a public foundation established in 1989 to support the success of girls and women in central Iowa.  Funded by community donors, Chrysalis invests in nonprofit organizations working with girls and women to ensure their education, economic empowerment, employment, and safety.  Through Chrysalis After-School, the foundation also provides hundreds of adolescent girls with academic support, resilience, career planning, financial literacy, and health and wellness education at over 30 metro elementary and middle schools each year.

Our work to assure women’s safety and security has informed our growing concern about the issue of human trafficking.  And our law enforcement partners, including the Des Moines Police Department and the Office of the Iowa Attorney General, confirm that the forced prostitution of young girls for sex is a reality, as well as an increasing concern for our state.

With hundreds of sister women’s funds across the globe, we work to address the systems that lead girls into entrapment, including the media’s sexualization of young girls, glamorization of the “pimp culture,” and the abuse that drives a girl from the safety of her home.

We also build public awareness, educate professionals working with youth and parents, equip girls and women with strategies for prevention, and connect with colleagues and organizations that intensifies our focus.

At Chrysalis, we know that problems and solutions are often found in the same place, and to address community problems we need community partners, including you.

Chrysalis continues to build awareness about this issue and strengthen our prevention strategies through our Chrysalis After-School and GirlPower curriculum.