SPRINGFIELD — A federal law closes a door for traffickers, as a state law opens a door to protect victims.
Big moves were made this week in the fight to stop human trafficking.
Those two bills fight towards the same cause, but they are a little bit different.
One law was made at the federal level to shut down romantic personal ads on craigslist.
For potential traffickers, that would close a door they use to market victims. As for the state bill, it would open doors to help those victims.
Republican State Senator Bob Dixon of Springfield, says the passage of Missouri House Bill 1246 will be another resource for trafficking victims, as it is now state law for certain places like bars, strip clubs, or truck stops to display posters for human trafficking resources.
“I think that is a very important bill and I am glad that it has been signed,” Dixon says. “We really are at the epicenter of some of those things going on in that regard — in the country. That bill is very important. It deals with trying to have some tools to fight sex trafficking.”
Democratic State Representative Chrystal Quade of Springfield proves it has bipartisan support.
“I think it is a nice tool in the tool box to fight human trafficking. I was happy to see that bill pass thorough as quickly as it did,” Quade says.
One Coalition that has been a proponent of this bill is GO 61: An organization dedicated to ending modern day slavery such as human trafficking.
Executive Director Casey Alvarez says bringing more eyes to the issue could end up saving more victims.
“It will get victims know that there is help for them. It will let the public know these are the signs they can look for that indicate a person might be human trafficking victim, and it increases avenues for rescue,” Alvarez says.
Another big move made this week in the fight against human trafficking was craigslists.com’s decision to remove personal romantic ads from their website. Now, it shows a message saying House Resolution 1865 has been passed in an effort to stop unlawful third party use.
Alvarez is hopeful this will just be the beginning.
“You just have to keep shutting doors. Good for Craigslist for doing this. It’s a good step in the right direction but there is still a lot more work to be done,” Alvarez explains.
While the Craigslist personal ads have already been taken down from the website, the trafficking awareness posters in Missouri are scheduled to go up in March of 2019.
The above video refers to Chrystal Quade as a State Senator. Quade is a State Representative of Springfield.