2 Posters for 2018 UN World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Our intern Jamilah has created two posters to promote awareness about human trafficking.


Here is a bit about Jamilah:

My name is Jamilah, and I am a Senior in high school. I started working with Set Free this summer after a family friend Suzie Wright suggested that I volunteer with them. While volunteering I learned much more about the scary world that is human trafficking. The ideas for both posters came from my disbelief when learning the statistics of human trafficking. My poster depicting the girl with a barcode on her neck was to show how people in the trafficking world aren’t seen as humans, they are just numbers ready to work for the highest bidder. The poster with the number of convictions worldwide shows that while Governments and independent organizations are trying to help, they simply aren’t making a large impact. The reality is that humans are being bought and sold all over the world for a variety of disturbing things and it needs to stop.

See them here:

Human Trafficking poster #1

Human Trafficking Poster #2-rev



On July 30, 2018, at 7 PM, Set Free Dubuque is hosting a free screening of the short film “Chosen – The True Story of America’s Trafficked Teens,” at Statera: Integrated Health and Wellness Solutions in honor of the UN’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

The film focuses on teenage sex trafficking. Following the screening will be a question and answer session about human trafficking concerns in the Dubuque area.

The screening and q&a will be facilitated by Suzanne Wright, Executive Director of Set Free Dubuque, which is a non-profit organization seeking to educate the community, advocate for victims, and eliminate the demand for human trafficking.

The screening will be held in the lower level of Statera: Integrated Health and Wellness Solutions located at 3375 Lake Ridge Drive, Dubuque, IA 52003.

The screening will be free thanks to the people at Statera and an employee donation matching grant program from John Deere. Wright and Set Free are also part of the Tri-State Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Slavery. Other members of the coalition will also be present.

Here is more information about the film.


Color Run and April Blur


Sorry that the month of April was such a blur. There were a few opportunities to meet with individuals concerned about human trafficking, I also met with a number of college and high school students who were eager and excited to know more and do “something” to combat human trafficking in their schools and community.

There was a two day summit in Altoona, Iowa attended by more than 600 people to discuss what is true and current in human trafficking. One of the many best things about this time were the opportunities to listen to the survivors stories so that we will be better able to assist survivors as they come along. Another blessing was to come together with other abolitionists who are fighting the good fight.

Last week the film, “Invisible Hands” played at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival. It is an excellent film about global child labor trafficking. Take the time to see this film if it plays near you. The filmmaker, Shraysi Tandon, is lovely and had really excellent information about this topic. Learn more about this film at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6980550/reference

On morning of May 5, the University of Dubuque’s Spartan Nation Liberation Foundation will be holding a color run/walk to promote human trafficking awareness. Please attend and support these efforts, if you can.

Here is a link to the event! https://www.facebook.com/events/197834247639435/ 


Saying Goodbye to an Anti-Trafficking Hero

In January, I was asked to speak in Minnesota on the generalities of human trafficking and then had the privilege of meeting Sister Ann Redmond, CSJ who worked tirelessly to assist trafficking victims in Minnesota. She then shared information about localized human trafficking in the Twin Cities and the deep need to pass better legislation to protect and assist victims and survivors.

I am saddened to hear that she has recently passed away but grateful to have had the chance to learn from her.

Sr. Ann was a dynamic inspiration and our prayers go out to her family and congregation. Here is a link to an article about her.

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 https://setfreedubuque.wordpress.com/support-our-mission.

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 setfreedubque.org for the topic of the month or follow up on Facebook.