SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–The continuous fight to combat human trafficking in Missouri reaches the state capitol.
A proposed law is being discussed that would require posters to go up advertising the human trafficking hotline.
The posters would provide victims of human trafficking with information on how to get out of that lifestyle by listing resources for them to get help.
“Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery where people are exploited through forced labor, sex trafficking, and domestic servitude for another person’s gain through a means of forced fraud or coercion,” says Casey Alvarez, executive director of Go 61-an organization committed to serving victims of human trafficking.
Alvarez says that if House Bill 1246 passes, the posters would be seen in places like airports, bus stations, truck stops, strip clubs, hotels, and motels.
“Places where this injustice happens on a regular basis and these posters would have identifier signs of human trafficking, the hotline number featured really prominently,” says Alvarez.
The law would require the posters to be worded with a message that says in part,
“If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave-whether it is commercial sex, housework, farm work, or any other activity call or text the national trafficking resource center hotline.”
The poster will also list a website to access help and services.
“These posters are necessary because a lot of times victims don’t realize they’re victims so it lets them know that you have a right to be free from violence. It also educates the public that this is happening in your state, here are the signs,” says Alvarez.
Alvarez says the posters would be a small step in the right direction in helping victims.
“I think that right now, it’s so difficult to gage how prominent or prevalent human trafficking is in Missouri because only 1% of victims are identified and so if more begin to report and the public sees them and reports more, we’re going to be able to start collecting data,” says Alvarez.
According to Alvarez, the bill passed overwhelmingly in the house and is now waiting to be voted on by the senate.