Lawmaker looks to criminalize all sex trafficking ads
SPRINGFIELD - A Missouri lawmaker is putting human trafficking as his top priority for the Missouri House's 2015 session in January.
Rep. Elijah Haahr filed legislation, HB 152, to criminalize any form of advertising that leads to the exploitation of children.
Everything from online posts to classified ads would be criminalized if the advertiser knows it could lead to human trafficking. Anyone found guilty of this kind advertising would be guilty of sexual trafficking of a child, which can result in a maximum sentence of life in prison in Missouri.
According to the US Department of Justice, the average age of new prostitutes is 13-years-old and pimps can earn up to $200,000 per child, who are forced to have sex up to 20-48 times a day.
"Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar a year industry that has victimized countless innocent, vulnerable children. One of the ways we can help to shut down these heinous crimes is by limiting the ability of traffickers to advertise on the Internet or in other areas," said Haahr, R-Springfield. "By passing this legislation we can give law enforcement another tool to combat traffickers and protect innocent children from harm."
Haahr's legislation was prefiled Thursday, Dec. 4 and will be considered by the Missouri House when the General Assembly convenes for the 2015 session in January.