ST. LOUIS, Mo. – (04/03/17) Speaking from a safe-house in an undisclosed location near St. Louis, Attorney General Josh Hawley today announced major new initiatives to combat human trafficking in Missouri. Joined by law enforcement officers, trafficking survivors, and victim advocates, Hawley announced bold new measures that are effective immediately.
The initiative begins with new regulations prohibiting the use of businesses as fronts for trafficking, makes debt bondage illegal, and provides new civil and criminal penalties on traffickers. He also announced a first of its kind in the country – a new anti-trafficking unit in the Attorney General’s office to enforce the new rules.
“Today is the day Missouri says ‘no more’ to the epidemic of human trafficking,” said Hawley. “Human trafficking is the third largest criminal industry in the world, and the fastest growing. It is happening right here, in our own neighborhoods, every day. I became a lawyer because I believe in justice, and justice means protecting the vulnerable and the exploited. I am proud to announce these efforts to make Missouri a leader in the fight to abolish trafficking.”
The force will include law enforcement officials, local prosecutors, social-service providers, victims’ advocates, and individual human-trafficking survivors. Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams is slated to serve on the statewide task force.