human trafficking

human trafficking
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Senate Bill 804 would make it illegal to advertise the availability of a child for sex. It would also make it illegal to advertise the availability of an adult for sex without her or his consent, a provision that was not included in a similar bill last year.

Medical professionals raise hands during a room-wide survey of whether they have provided care to someone they knew or believed was a victim of human trafficking.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

A young woman comes into an emergency room, trailed by a much older boyfriend who answers questions for her. A man with a broken ankle and no identification asks a doctor to promise the hospital will not tell his employer that he sought medical care.  

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, wears a bracelet made to raise awareness of human sex trafficking.
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

WASHINGTON - The House Tuesday gave overwhelming approval to an anti-human trafficking bill, containing provisions sponsored by U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. The measure won final approval on a vote of 420 to 3.

The U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.
(via Flickr/Wally Gobetz)

After a two-week Easter recess, legislators are back in Washington, D.C.

“There’s a lot of trying to paint the other guy as the bad guy. There’s a lot of posturing,” St. Louis Public Radio’s Washington, D.C. reporter Jim Howard told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

Even while several candidates have announced they’re running for president in 2015, Howard said that it’s not a distraction; rather it is the main event.

A bill co-sponsored by two local legislators is now stalled.

State Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-Olivette
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum welcome state Rep. Tracy McCreery to the show. 

The Olivette Democrat grew up in northern Ohio and graduated from the Ohio State University. After a stint in the pharmaceutical industry, McCreery served as state Sen. Joan Bray’s district aide for the University City Democrat's eight-year tenure in the Missouri Senate.

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Feb. 1 is Super Bowl Sunday. By presidential declaration, it’s also Freedom Day, marking the end of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

As awareness of human trafficking has grown, lawmakers at the state and national levels have been doing what they can to combat it. But most of the heavy lifting falls on the shoulders of non-profits.

Mo. Secretary of State's office

The fight against sex trafficking is being waged in Jefferson City -- and Washington, D.C. Closer to home, the Missouri legislature is considering bills to allow victims of human trafficking to shield their home addresses from the public. And, in the nation's capital, the U.S. House passed several bills targeting human trafficking.

Missouri legislation to help human trafficking survivors

The YWCA has been involved in social justice issues for about 150 years, but many people still don’t know the organization’s mission, CEO Dara Richardson-Heron said.

“At the YWCA, we know that we cannot rest until racial, social and gender justice become a reality,” she told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The federal government puts St. Louis in the top 20 jurisdictions for human trafficking.

That ranking, as well as a host of other sobering facts about human trafficking came to light during a summit Monday morning in Edwardsville hosted by Republican Congressmen John Shimkus and Rodney Davis of Illinois.

Attendees also learned:

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley is pushing for more money to combat human trafficking. 

Dooley asked the St. Louis County Council Tuesday for $250,000 to establish a computer forensic laboratory and hire two forensic examiners. That equipment and additional personnel could help establish evidence that could prosecute sex traffickers. 

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

There was a time when Katie Rhoades 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 Rhoades, the founder of the Healing Action Network. “It’s a lot of economic incentive to keep this industry going.”

Rhoades 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.

photo of Molly Hackett
Provided by Nix Conference and Meeting Management

Jan. 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

You may assume that human trafficking has nothing to do with you, and that there’s nothing you can do about it. If so, you would be wrong.

The average age of a child recruited into sex trafficking is just 12. When we tell that to people who know little about human trafficking, particularly child sex trafficking, we see them literally take a step back.

File Photo | St. Louis Cardinals

Updated at bottom on October 22 with bets from the Archdiocese.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. to clarify quote about child trafficking.

The leaders of the Episcopal cathedrals in Boston and St. Louis are betting that the World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals will help combat human trafficking and prostitution in their cities.

Illinois is getting tougher on those involved in human trafficking and forcing the vulnerable into prostitution.
 
 Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law Saturday that strengthens the ability of prosecutors to target those behind what he called "a tragic trade."
 
The measure also offers greater protection to the victims, who are often from vulnerable groups like runaways, abused children and immigrants.

(via Flickr/vauvau)

A suburban St. Louis event planner is seeking to enlist hotels in the fight against human trafficking of minors, particularly for sex.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Nix Conference & Meeting Management has begun pressuring the 500 or so hotels it does business with to sign a code of conduct in the effort to protect children from trafficking.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

A suburban St. Louis man has pleaded guilty to participating in the commercial sex trafficking of a woman whom prosecutors allege was coerced into being a sex slave.

Thirty-three-year-old Bradley Cook of Kirkwood entered the plea Tuesday in federal court in Kansas City.

The case revolves around a woman who said she was a teenager when she moved into the rural Lebanon, Mo., trailer of co-defendant Edward Bagley and his wife. The accuser said she was used as a sex slave for years and came to authorities only after going into cardiac arrest after a torture session.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Nixon signs human trafficking bill

People convicted of human trafficking in Missouri will face longer maximum sentences under a bill signed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The legislation addresses convictions for trafficking for slavery, forced labor or sexual exploitation and abuse through forced labor. Those crimes now carry maximum sentences of 15 years in prison.

Maria Altman / St. Louis Public Radio

The Millennium Hotel St. Louis signed a code Tuesday to help prevent the sex trafficking of children.

The move came as nearly 900 Sisters of St. Joseph gathered for a three-day event at the Millennium.

Executive director of the Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph in the U.S., Kathy McCluskey, says they’re working to inform Americans about the issue of child sex trafficking.

"What we’ve discovered is when you do that people will recognize the horror of it and immediately want to learn what can be done to prevent it at every level," McCluskey said.

(via Flickr/k763)
  • According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Charles and St. Charles County leaders say they will push ahead in the fight against anti-gay protests at military funerals. That's a despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Wednesday in favor of such demonstrators. In an 8-to-1 ruling, the high court said Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church doesn't have to pay damages to the family of a Marine from Maryland.
Tim Bommel / House Communications Office

A state representative has announced plans to introduce a bill to increase penalties for human trafficking convictions in Missouri.

Democratic Rep. Jason Kander said the measure he plans to introduce this week would boost Missouri penalties for human trafficking to the same level as federal statutes. He said federal penalties for human trafficking range from fines to five years and up to life in prison. Most Missouri human trafficking penalties go up to 15 years in prison.