Mary Lechtenberg’s Final Thank You Speech & Overview of Coalition’s Efforts

Good Morning,

My name is Sister Mary Lechtenberg and with me are several members of the Tri-State Coalition Against Human Trafficking, based in Dubuque.  On behalf of the Coalition, I would like to thank Governor Reynolds and the legislature for recognizing the problem of human trafficking. We are honored to receive it.

The coalition was begun in 2014 by the Catholic religious sisters in the area. I’m happy to say that there are members here of the religious Congregations who started the Coalition:  Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sisters of St. Dominic and Sisters of St. Francis. Our membership includes men and women of the tri-state community.

The coalition was formed with the purpose of “educating people of all ages on the signs of human trafficking”.  We have since formed subcommittees: education, advocacy, outreach and hotel-motel employee training.

Even during this pandemic, we have…

  • worked with city councils of Dubuque, Madison and Galena in proclaiming January as HT awareness month
  • trained many city bus drivers,
  • hosted a booth at the Dubuque County Fair,
  • posted a billboard on Highway 20 during the Major League Baseball Game in Dyersville,
  • coordinated training of teachers and students in Dubuque schools,
  • joined the University of Dubuque in their 5K/Run the Runway event and
  • purchased a bus wrap on a city bus for one year.

Several members have worked with the Iowa Network in preparing resources for the training of hotel and motel employees, by working on the script for the video and preparing handouts for the employees.  A member also worked on the IBAT effort.

We are committed to continue these efforts and to collaborate with other organizations to end the demand for human trafficking.  We are members of the Mississippi Valley Network against HT, the Iowa State Network against HT and the US Catholic Sisters against HT.

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