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Fighting Human Trafficking Starts With Knowledge
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- What many may not realize is the Midwest plays a key role in human trafficking. That's why The Preventing Abuse Foundation says it's important to educate people who live in Iowa and other nearby states on these issues so they know how they might be able to put an end to human trafficking. It could save a life in someone else's family, or even their own.
"Its a geographical corridor," said the President and Founder of The Preventing Abuse Foundation, Tony Nassif. "Because its the center, within about 300 miles of the major cities of the Midwest. Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis."
That makes Iowa and its surrounding states a region that many trafficked children pass through. Stopping the movement of those victims can be a key to saving them.
"And if people would only know what to look for, it would not be as bad as it is," said former New York City Police Detective Jim Rothstein.
Noreen Gosch lost her son more than 30 years ago when he was abducted while on his paper route. He was never found.She says spreading her story is important because she never thought she'd be affected by a kidnapping, until she was.
"When you don't know about something, you don't know. Sometimes you don't know what you don't know," said Gosch
"Nobody knows everything," said abduction survivor Alicia Kozakiewicz. "So putting experts in a room with other experts gives them the ability to broaden their horizons."
Last year Drew and Heather Collins attended this same conference. Then, their daughter Elizabeth and niece Lyric were still missing. The girls were found dead a few weeks later. This year, the couple is back.
"Its good but then its not because that means we're without Elizabeth here with us," said Heather. "Our hope was to bring her to back to a conference like this with us here.
Noreen Gosch received the Family Protection Award for her advocacy work that's led to significant policy changes regarding kidnapped children. The law called "The Johnny Gosch Law," named after her son, which allows for an immediate investigation after any child is taken.