Annual Report

Set Free Dubuque 2017 Annual Report

casey_injustice.jpgThe board and volunteers connected to Set Free Dubuque have proven themselves to be dedicated and delightful during this last year. Their energy and prayerful support of this ministry as well as their diligence to duty have created many opportunities to serve survivor, victims, and families of human trafficking and have educated hundreds of people in the Dubuque community and other parts of Iowa and Illinois. The photo above is of Casey Klein. We are so grateful for her years of service on the board and her continued efforts as a volunteer, supporter, and speaker truth. Thank you to all who have made this past year amazing.

Set Free Leadership 2017
Suzanne Wright, Executive Director
Corey Hartbecke, President
Casey Klein, Vice President
Deanna Wille, Treasurer
Rebekah Matthews, Secretary
Chris Wolf, At-Large
Carmen Burds

Set Free Leadership 2018
Suzanne Wright, Executive Director
Corey Hartbecke, President
Open, Vice President
Deanna Wille, Treasurer
Open, Secretary
Chris Wolf, At-Large
John Hagemann, At-Large

CoreyWords from Board President Corey Hartbecke about our budget needs.

We need to grow our budget because there are needs that are going unmet. With more resources we would be able to expand our direct services to victims, survivors, and families impact by trafficking. More funding would enable Set Free to do more education of additional people about human trafficking. We want to teach people before they are victimized so that they will not have to live as survivors. Our 2018 funding goal is $35,000 so that we can hold specialized trainings and provide more care. An anonymous family has pledged a matching gift for the next $800 that is sent in to Set-Free.
Set Free Dubuque exists to proclaim freedom for the captives by educating our community, advocating for survivors, and eliminating the demand for modern-day slavery.

Financial Report

Donations $10, 804
Misc. Income $ 274
Income $11,078
Expenses $ 8,913

We have three basic kinds of expenses: operational, victim support, and compensated volunteer.
Operational Expenses = training and meeting expenses, marketing, printing, advertising
Victim Support = anything needed to assist victims including, transportation, food, clothing, sheltering
Compensated Volunteer = We can not afford to pay for staff at this time, so our executive director is given $400 a month to cover expenses such as mileage, internet, use of office space and personal computer, printing, and cell phone bills for a minimum of 40 hours a month.
If you want to help support the work of Set Free Dubuque, you can send a check to PO Box 81 Dubuque IA 5204 or give electronically by going to

Thank you, Set Free Dubuque.

Whom do we serve?

We serve all who are in need without discrimination of age, ethnicity, faith, or gender. We do this as a calling to love and serve others through our Christian faith. We do not force others to believe as we do.

Example of Services Rendered in 2017

On Christmas morning, I received a call from one of the staff at Hope House here in Dubuque, Iowa, to assist them with someone who called their Catholic Worker House of Hospitality. This sometimes happens if a person is seeking to leave a domestic violence or trafficking situation. That morning I was not certain what the need was, but I called my boss and asked if it would be possible to come to work late if needed. It is hard to judge how long a person will need assistance.
She was not sober, but I do not know if it was because of alcohol, drugs, or both. What I did know was that she was sobbing and needed someone to listen. As I heard her story, I discovered that she wanted to leave town to escape her situation. She also had not eaten in too long and felt she had no where safe to go.
After getting food for her and heading out to leave town, she shared more of her story and explored options she could consider. She even called her family but was not offered shelter and was in fact, was told to return to the abusive situation we were driving her away from. Through more tears and anger and near chain smoking she came to the choice to stay in her situation.
Although the last thing I wanted to do was return her to her circumstances, we offered her more options both in Dubuque and in the city, she had asked to escape to. Unfortunately, she maintained the choice to go back. It is very important to not take control away from someone in this circumstance and so we provided her with as much information as we could have given her impaired state and returned.
We had given comfort, support, sustenance, and warmth on a cold Christmas morning when those she loved did not. Fear of freedom keeps victims staying in their situations. Depending on the kind of trauma one endures there can be many attempts to seek freedom before they actually find it. Being part of the middle of the story can be disheartening because we want to know the people we help are safe. We need to take solace in knowing that they have taken one more step toward freedom.
~ Suzie Wright, Executive Director

Gathering to Set Free

Every month we gather to discuss human trafficking concerns. During the spring we will be meeting at the Grand Harbor Resort on the first Saturday of the month. The dates for April through December may change. Please check out our website for the topic of the month or follow up on Facebook.

Who Is Helping with Survivors?


February  has been quiet busy with leading sessions on human trafficking awareness. I am so grateful for the gifts and grants that help fund the training sessions we have done this month.

Suzie Wright was able to lead discussions on trafficking with students from the University of Dubuque, staff and interns at the Riverview Center both here in Dubuque. She also traveled to the Twin Cities to teach the basics of human trafficking to BVM Associates and Sisters.

She has also participated in the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking, the Coalition Against Human Trafficking in the Tri-State Area, and Mississippi Valley Coalition Against Trafficking meetings as well as lead the monthly Gathering to Set Free Meeting.

The upcoming March 3, Gathering to Set Free meeting will focus on a brief overview of the agencies we work with and through to assist survivors and their families. Come and see how through the cooperation of different agencies we can Set Free the captives.

Next meeting March 3, 10 AM Grand Harbor Resort, Platinum B Meeting Room.

Jumping in January

Sorry that this update is coming so late in the month. It has been a very busy month in anti-trafficking work.

First I would like to thank every one who helped support our efforts last year. We would not exist for the efforts of a few stalwart individuals and I am humbled by your efforts. On top of all this, we want to thank all of our donors and sponsors who help to fund our efforts. We especially want to thank John Deere for the matching grant they awarded us that will enable more free talks about trafficking in the Tri-states this year.

The Coalition Against Trafficking in the Tri-States had two billboards posted that promote the National Human Trafficking Hotline number, partnered with the RiverLights 2nd Edition Book Store to have a month-long anti-trafficking display in their front window, obtained proclamations from the city and county of Dubuque declaring that January is Human Trafficking Awareness month.

Set Free Dubuque held our monthly Gathering to Set Free at the Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark on the first Saturday of the month at 10 AM. We began exploring human trafficking and will continue that topic next month. Same time, location. See you Feb 6 at 10:0 AM, if you are interested. We will be on the 2nd floor in the Platinum B Room.

Last week, our Exec Dir. Suzie Wright attended a proclamation signing in the Iowa State Governor’s Formal Receiving Office. While in the capital, she and Sr. Pat Conlan met with House of Representative Charles (Chuck) Isenthart to discuss ways that the state could better support the trafficked survivors and anti-trafficking efforts in the state.

She also met with Vanessa McNeal, a filmmaker wanting to make a documentary about human trafficking in Iowa. Click here for a link to the film’s crowd funding campaign if you are interested in knowing more or want to support their efforts to make Gridshock.

Because film is truly one of the most effective teaching mediums, Set Free Dubuque partnered with the Coalition Against Trafficking,  the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival and a grant from the McDonough Foundation to bring the film I AM STILL HERE back to Dubuque. After the screening there was a Q&A session with a panel that included Dubuque’s Chief of Police Mark Dalsing, Set Free’s Suzie Wright, University of Dubuque Professor Kim Hilby, the film’s writer/director Mischa Marcus and Iowa State’s Human Trafficking Coordinator Celine Villongco. The next day, the film was screened at Mount Carmel for the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and most of the panelists were able to attend. Here is a little responsive video the BVM team made.


gov cropped
Suzie Wright, Iowa’s first female governor Kim Reynolds, and Sr. Pat Conlan.
Pannelists Kim Hilby, Mischa Marcus, Mark Dalsing, Celine Villongco, and Suzie Wright

Thank You

Hello All,

As we get closer to the end of the year, we want to thank you for the support and encouragement we have had during this last year. Here is a little overview.

We worked with many other service agencies to help victims, survivors, family members, and friends of people who have been trafficked. We have held multiple training opportunities to educate people about the truths about trafficking, taught professionals how to safely engage in assisting victims, and listened to survivors as they processed their reality post-trafficking.

There were people who accepted the help we offered and some that chose other paths. All are in our prayers for a safer and saner year to come.

We are especially grateful to those who have supported our efforts with prayer, volunteerism, and financially.

As we move in to 2018, we ask you to keep lifting us in prayer, please keep engaging in our activities and support us how you feel led.

Please pray especially for the women, girls, and young man we have ministered directly to this year. Also, please pray for our board and volunteers so that they can be bold and courageous in serving the people who need Set Free Dubuque.


Roshek Silent Auction Item

set free sign
Silent Auction Item for the Roshek’s Holiday Event

Roshek Holiday 2017

Event Description:
Dubuque Initiatives and the Roshek Building Tenants invited nonprofit organizations to participate in the 2017 Roshek Holiday. Nonprofit organizations to create a holiday item (tree, wreath, centerpiece, sleigh, bike, etc.) for a silent auction fundraiser from November 17 – December 7.

All funds raised from the auction items benefit the respective nonprofit organizations.

Friday, November 17 – Roshek Opening Night/Silent Auction Bidding Opens

Thursday, December 7 – Nonprofit Day/End of Silent Auction/Bidding Closes at 6pmNew This Year
All items will be on an online auction platform, Accelevents, so that donors may bid anytime from anywhere in the country.

Casey Kelin, thank you for creating this year’s item.