Gov. Nixon signed bill to fight sex trafficking
KANSAS CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon was in Kansas City Wednesday to sign legislature to combat sex trafficking and protect victims of these crimes. He joined Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and state Rep. Elijah Haahr for the signing, according to a news release sent by Nixon's press secretary.
Nixon said, "We tend to think of trafficking as something that happens in distant, undeveloped countries. But the tragic reality is that right here in the United States, human trafficking is a real and growing problem."
The release said that House Bill 1562 includes the act of advertising the availability of a minor or non-consenting adult for prostitution or pornography in the crime of sex trafficking. Currently, Missouri law does not address this issue.
The release also said House Bill 1562 also limits the exposure of related photographs and records to individuals who are part of an investigation of judicial proceeding to protect the confidentiality of children who are victims of sexual offenses.
“House Bill 1562 will strengthen Missouri’s laws against sex trafficking, helping to hold these loathsome criminals accountable and protect victims from their abusers," said Nixon.
The news release states that Kander proposed provisions that are also included in House Bill 1562. His provisions are to strengthen the protections provided through the Safe at Home Program administered by the Missouri Secretary of State. The program provides victims of sexual and and domestic violence with a substitute address so their actual address can remain confidential and inaccessible to their abusers.
House Bill 1562 intensifies the penalties for attempting to access the address of a participant in the Safe at Home Program. Victims of human trafficking are also added to the list of eligible participants, according to the news release.
Kander said he was pleased that his proposal to expand the Safe at Home program was signed into law today. He said, “Now more Missourians who have survived horrible circumstances will be made safer by keeping their addresses out of the hands of their assailants.”
The governor also signed Senate Bill 638 to establish a quality rating system for Missouri preschools.