Gov. Jay Nixon’s signature “dotted the i and crossed the t” on legislation to ramp up the fight against sex trafficking and enhance protections for victims.
The governor on June 22, signed the bill unanimously approved by both houses of the Legislature during the regular session.
In signing the bill, Nixon noted the deplorable crime tends to fly below the radar. “We tend to think of trafficking as something that happens in distant, undeveloped countries,” the governor said. “But the tragic reality is that right here in the United States, human trafficking is a real and growing problem.”
On May 12 in this forum, we referenced the following:
A quote from House sponsor — state Rep. Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield — that, “The FBI has stated that St. Louis is one of the top 20 trafficking destinations in the country.”
National Human Trafficking Resource Center data showing, since 2007, more than 1,500 calls have been made from Missouri to the center’s hotline.
The new law is designed to crack down on the crime and protect victims.
One provision expands existing sex trafficking laws by banning ads for commercial sex acts on websites, apps, posters and elsewhere for prostitution and pornography of children and non-consenting adults.
Another provision is designed to protect victims by making them eligible for Missouri’s address confidentiality program, Safe at Home, administered by the secretary of state’s office. The bill also limits access to photos and other records of trafficked children.
The executive and legislative branches have joined a unified mission to battle the despicable, dehumanizing crime of sex trafficking and to provide safe haven for its victims.
On this initiative, the state’s elected officials deserve the gratitude of all Missourians.