Sweet treats help raise money to fight a bitter battle - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Sweet treats help raise money to fight a bitter battle

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Patrick Atkinson has made it his life's work to serve others, but this concept of serving sundaes is new to him. Patrick Atkinson has made it his life's work to serve others, but this concept of serving sundaes is new to him.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

Human Trafficking affects every continent and every type of economy, and it's an issue that's being felt in our own backyard, right here in the Midwest.

More than one million children are forced into labor and sexually exploited each year.

Now, one man is bringing attention to the problem, not only to parents, but to Siouxland students, hoping they can help put an end to this terrible trade.

Patrick Atkinson has made it his life's work to serve others, but this concept of serving sundaes is new to him.

"Never worked at an ice cream shop, so this will be my first day scooping and serving," said Atkinson. "I'm looking forward to it."

Through a partnership with Cold Stone Creamery, Atkinson got behind the counter. His organization, The Institute of Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons, is raising funds for a student service trip to Guatemala. While he's in the shop, he's also hoping to raise awareness around town.

"The world is dying for people who are just literally needed to hug, to hold, to give that which we would otherwise throw in the garbage," said Atkinson.

"It might be something that they think just happens on TV or in the movies and something that people don't want to think about," said Kathy Boman, a Briar Cliff student. "That this kind of awful stuff really does go on in real life."

Atkinson says even in the Midwest, there is a traffic pipeline targeting children from abusive or broken homes.

"They get identified by people who are professional predators. They're young, they're innocent," said Atkinson.

Atkinson says children are taken from city to city, and traded around like commodities.

"They're run through the prostitution, the pornography mills and they get down marketed as they get sicker and older, as they get more worn," said Atkinson.

Briar Cliff University students will head to Guatemala, a crossroads for human trafficking, this winter. They'll take care of children, who are prime targets for the sex trade. They'll also help build homes.

"It helps the issue of human trafficking, so that they have homes to be in and are less likely to be human trafficked," said Jodie Huju, a Briar Cliff student.

For the students, it's an opportunity to work alongside a man, who, for the last 31 years, has dedicated his life to this cause.

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