Human Trafficking | St. Louis Public Radio

Human Trafficking

Executive director of Healing Action Katie Rhoades shared her own experience of human trafficking on Tuesday’s “St. Louis on the Air.”
Aaron Doerr | St. Louis Public Radio

Human trafficking remains a problem throughout the world, but it is closer to home than we often realize.

“It’s a tremendous issue here in Missouri,” Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Norman Murphy said regarding both sexual and labor exploitation.

File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers debated and passed several bills this week, even with the ongoing distraction of the indictment of Gov. Eric Greitens.

The first-term Republican faces a May 14 trial date on an of invasion of privacy charge, in which he’s accused of taking a semi-nude photo in 2015 of his then-mistress without her permission. Greitens maintains he’s innocent.

File photo I Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation designed to combat human trafficking in Missouri is on its way to Gov. Eric Greitens.

The bill would require airports, bus and train stations, hospital emergency rooms, strip clubs, and any business with prior citations for prostitution to display posters that contain a national hotline number. Republican Bob Onder of Lake St. Louis sposoned the bill in the Senate. 

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers continue to work on several bills, including one that could result in the first filibuster of the 2018 legislative session.

A bill sponsored by State Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, would ban participation in the federal program formerly known as food stamps, now called SNAP, for heads of households able to work but who choose not to. Food benefits would also be cut off to dependents living with that individual, including children.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

It was a short but busy day for the Missouri House, as they sent three bills - on lobbyist gifts, human trafficking and hair braiding - to the Senate on Wednesday.

For the third year in a row, the House passed legislation banning most gifts from lobbyists to elected officials. The exceptions allowed in the lobbyist gift ban include flowers for weddings, funerals and similar events, and free food at catered events as long as every lawmaker and statewide elected official is invited.

This story was updated at 1:06 p.m. to include comments by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley in a phone interview.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley struck back Wednesday at Backpage.com, the controversial classifieds website that sued him the day before, saying “there is no First Amendment right to engage in human trafficking.”

Republican Josh Hawley won the endorsement of the Missouri Farm Bureau for attorney general.
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri is the only state in the U.S. using consumer-protection laws to pursue a website that’s accused of advertising illegal sexual activity such as human trafficking, Attorney General Josh Hawley says.

Hawley’s office says it has filed a lawsuit Thursday in state court in St. Charles as a way to try to force Backpage.com to turn over documents that Hawley contends may be helping traffickers evade prosecution in the state and elsewhere. It’s the second time Hawley has sought court intervention in recent weeks.

Amanda Mohl, Dr. Rumi Price and Carmen Guynn, all advocates in the area of human trafficking, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the issue in the region.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In this month’s issue of The Atlantic, author Alex Tizon writes of a woman who spent 56 years in his family’s household as a slave. “My Family’s Slave,” which has inspired copious dialogue and backlash about the author’s intent, uncovered a side of human trafficking we rarely talk about.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley signs documents proposing new rules to prosecute human traffickers, on April 3, 2017.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley wants to get tough on human trafficking, which long has been a problem in the state. To do so, he proposed rules Monday that could make it easier to charge human traffickers with a crime.

Advocate and author Christine McDonald, right, listens to U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri testify during a public hearing in St. Louis about human trafficking.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Eastern Missouri has four full-time police officers dedicated to investigating human trafficking cases, but convictions are rare.

Law enforcement officials say it's hard to build cases against perpetrators because witnesses are few and victims often are unseen. To improve awareness, Webster University will hold a training session this weekend for law students and the general public. Attendees will hear how people are forced into sex work and other trades, and how to identify warning signs.

Jeff Belmonte | Cuiabá, Brazil | Creative Commons, Wikipedia

The age in which teenagers can receive a marriage license would increase to 17 under legislation pre-filed in the Missouri House.

Currently, teens as young as 15 can get married in Missouri with at least one parent's permission.

human trafficking
FBI website

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

YWCA Leaders Tackle Social Justice Issues

Jan 13, 2015

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:

Pages