There was a time when Katie Rhodes was sold for sex out of nightclubs, strip clubs, magazines and online websites. She was part of an estimated $45 million industry of what she called “selling human beings online.”
“It’s a lot of money, said Rhodes, the founder of the Healing Action Network. “It’s a lot of economic incentive to keep this industry going.”
Rhodes said it’s crucial that third-party facilitators of prostitution are held accountable. That’s why she’s supportive of Rep. Ann Wagner’s legislation taking aim at publications advertising human trafficking.
Sex trafficking is not just an international problem, or even a national one. It is also a problem here in St. Louis. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, St. Louis is a hot spot of sex trafficking activity, one of the top 20 in the country.
The latest campaign-donation numbers are adding more intrigue to St. Louis area’s marquee contest this year between St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and County Councilman Steve Stenger.
Stenger outraised fellow Democrat Dooley during the last quarter of 2013 -- $245,032 to $115,414. Their latest campaign reports, filed Wednesday, also show Stenger with more in the bank: $638,158 to $458,154.
Boeing CEO W. James McNerney, Jr., left, and U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, met earlier in December in Washington, D.C. Luetkemeyer is part of a bipartisan contingent of federal lawmakers using the bully pulpit to steer Boeing's 777X to Missouri.
When U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer met with Boeing CEO James McNerney in his Washington office earlier this month, his message wasn’t subtle.
Luetkemeyer was there to make the case that Missouri was the right place to steer production of Boeing's 777X civilian aircraft. He said he told McNerney he was “excited about the opportunity for the state of Missouri to bid on it.”
“Whatever help we could be at the federal level, we would more than willing to do that,” Luetkemeyer , R-St. Elizabeth, said.
By a vote of 332-94, the U.S. House overwhelmingly backed a compromise two-year budget deal Thursday night -- in effect, rejecting pressure from conservative groups staunchly opposed to the measure.
The Senate is expected to swiftly follow suit.
Those in the House backing the bill included U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, who appeared on CNBC's "Kudlow Report" after the vote to laud the budget deal's provisions as "gifts that will keep on giving."
Pro-immigration reform groups are continuing to put pressure on Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-St. Louis County). About 15 people rallied Monday in Kirkwood, calling for her to address comprehensive immigration reform.
Several people spoke at the rally. Some shared stories of being separated from family members after deportation, while others spoke about not being able to leave the country for a loved one’s funeral.
Lawrence Nwachukwu heads Basilico Engineering, a firm in St. Louis. He said he’s been trying to get his siblings to legally emigrate from Nigeria.
Nearly 100 activists rallied for immigration reform outside the federal courthouse in St. Louis this morning, calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to vote on a new immigration reform bill (HR 15.)
The bipartisan bill passed the Senate this summer and includes a pathway to citizenship and tougher border security, but has yet to be brought to a vote in the House.