Preventing abuse conference raises awareness in Cedar Rapids - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Preventing abuse conference raises awareness in Cedar Rapids

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

It has been more than a year since Drew and Heather Collins had their daughter and niece taken from them.

"At the foot of my bed is a picture of my daughter and I see that every morning.  It's the first thing I see, and that motivates me to get up, go another day," Drew Collins said.

The Collins family is working to keep Elizabeth and Lyric Cook's memories alive, fighting to protect other children from horrific crimes.

"There's so much to be done, we could work on it the rest of our lives and not get everything done," Drew said. 

This weekend the Collins family is in Cedar Rapids as part of the Preventing Abuse Conference.

There they heard the story of  Pennsylvania survivor Alicia Kozakiewicz, who as a child was lured by someone on the Internet and kidnapped and abused for 4 days before her rescue.

My ability to trust had been shattered," Kozakiewicz said.

Conference leaders say these stories are all too common.

Everything from Internet crimes, to drug cartels, to human trafficking are happening worldwide.  Iowa is no exception.

Conference leaders hope to spend the weekend empowering people to take action when something doesn't look right.

"What people can do is be educated, educated about the warning signs of a predator and a victim," said president of the Preventing Abuse Foundation, Tony Nassif.

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