human trafficking

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.

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