Iowa passed House File (HF) 452 in the spring of 2021. HF 452 increased civil penalties for masseurs and massage parlors that fail to present massage licensure upon request from law enforcement and also expanded the definition of human trafficking to include providing or facilitating fraudulent licensure in Iowa. While the legislature’s intent behind the bill was to curb the spread of human trafficking in the state, the reality was that it based its approach on stereotypes about human trafficking, massage parlors, and undocumented Asian women immigrants that have little factual basis, especially in Iowa. This Note presents an overview of the current landscape of human trafficking laws at the federal level and in Iowa, including city ordinances, Iowa statues, and Iowa caselaw. It then argues that Iowa should repeal HF 452 as federal immigration relief for trafficking victims is insufficient, increased law enforcement oversight is increased control for traffickers, and victims of human trafficking, in particular those without immigration status in this country, may not wish for intervention in the first place.


Veronica A. Stafford, HF 452’s Undue Burden on Non-citizen Asian Women Victims of Sex Trafficking, 26 J. Gender, Race & Just. 531 (2023). 

Tuesday, May 9, 2023