House and Senate Committees Hear Human Trafficking Bills

This week, the House Committee on Civil and Criminal Proceedings heard testimony on HB 152, sponsored by Rep. Elijah Haahr (R-Springfield), which would criminalize the act of advertising for sale in the sex industry victims of human trafficking.

U.S. Congresswoman Ann Wagner came to the hearing to testify in support of the legislation.  She sponsored similar legislation in Washington to make advertising these trafficking victims illegal nationwide. She provided disturbing testimony about boys and girls being kidnapped and advertised for sale by unscrupulous online prostitution networks. This practice, she testified, is particularly prevalent in St. Louis, but has a statewide reach.

Last week, the Senate Committee on Seniors, Families, and Children heard SB 211, sponsored by Senator Gina Walsh (D-St. Louis), which would allow victims of human trafficking to participate in the State address protection program, which currently protects women that are victims of domestic abuse, rape, and sexual assault.

The MCC testified in support of both bills.  There were no witnesses that testified against the bills.

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