Missouri AG Hawley launches human trafficking task force

1 year 9 months 1 week ago Monday, April 03 2017 Apr 3, 2017 Monday, April 03, 2017 2:30:00 PM CDT April 03, 2017 in News
By: Meg Hilling, KOMU 8 Reporter

ST. LOUIS - Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is going on offense when it comes to human trafficking in Missouri following the launch of his new anti-trafficking task force and regulations on Monday.

The regulations which will fall under Missouri's consumer protection laws, will prohibit the use of businesses as "fronts" for trafficking, make debt bondage illegal and provide for new civil and criminal penalties on traffickers.

Reinforcing these new regulations will be a statewide human trafficking task force which will include law enforcement officials, local prosecutors, social-service providers, victims' advocates and individual human-trafficking survivors.

"This is the message I have for the traffickers. Do not come to our state. Do not prey upon our children. Do not commit your crimes here. If you do we will find you out and we will prosecute you," Hawley said.

Hawley said funding for the initiative would come from the Attorney General office's consumer protection funds.

"We prosecute numerous consumer protection cases every year and under the law the money that we get in those cases is devoted back to consumer protection efforts," Hawley said. 

Katie Rhoades, Executive Director of Healing Action, an organization that works to combat sexual violence, and human trafficking survivor herself, is a member of the new task force. 

"We have heard politicians take about this issue. There's been task force after task force and it's missed the action piece," Rhoades said. "We [organization] are very excited to be a part of the task force and to have a voice and to have survivor voices at the table when looking at changing these policies or looking at how we provide victim services."

During his announcement Hawley referenced the FBI investigation of sex trafficking at Columbia home that was linked to a case in which a underage Wisconsin girl was being held against her will after being hired as a prostitute in the summer of 2016.

"This just shows this is a problem that is statewide and it's not confined to just the major cities. You know it happens right in middle Missouri. It happens all over the state. So this is a problem that knows no boundaries and that is why we need a statewide solution to it," he said.

Hawley is also calling upon the state's house of representatives to avoid making any funding cuts to the states' consumer protection funds, as the state budget moves to be finalized at the capitol.

"Don't cut consumer protection funding for the most vulnerable people in our state," he said. "These are the first regulations of their kind in the country. We look forward to being a leader on this issue and we call on the legislature to join us in this fight, don't obstruct us, join us in this fight." 

The roster for the task force is as follows:

Prosecutors

  • Ben Butler, Cass County Prosecuting Attorney
  • Kelly King, Warren County Prosecuting Attorney
  • Jason Lamb, Executive Director of the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services
  • Tim Lohmar, St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney
  • Bob McCulloch, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney
  • Dan Patterson, Greene County Prosecuting Attorney
  • Catherine Vannier, Domestic Violence Resource Prosecutor, Missouri Office of Prosecution Services
  • Eric Zahnd, Platte County Prosecuting Attorney

Law Enforcement

  • Chief Chris Connally, St. Joseph Police Department
  • Major Sarah Eberhard, Director of the Criminal Investigation Bureau, Missouri Highway Patrol
  • Chief Brad Halsey, Independence Police Department
  • Chief Sara Holzmeier, Truman State University Department of Public Safety
  • Sheriff Randee Kaiser, Jasper County 
  • Sheriff Mark Owen, Platte County
  • Chief Danny Whitele, Poplar Bluff Police Department
  • Chief Mike Williams, Sikeston Department of Public Safety
  • Chief Paul Williams, Springfield Police Department

Non-Profit/Advocay Sphere

  • Paul Banda, Anti-Trafficking Advocate 
  • Amanda Colegrove, Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Exploitation
  • Pam Hamilton, Cornerstones of Care
  • Rochelle Keyhan, Polaris Project
  • Amanda Mohl, Anti-Trafficking Community Coordinator, International Institute of St. Louis, St. Louis Rescue & Restore Coalition
  • Katie Rhoades, Executive Director, Healing Action
  • Emily Russell, Victims' Advocate
  • Nanette Ward, Chair, Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition

More News

Grid
List
SPRINGFIELD — A Missouri health provider will have to pay tens of millions of dollars to a former patient... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 1:13:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Attorney general Eric Schmitt announced a settlement with Fiat Chrysler and auto parts supplier Bosch over unlawful... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 11:05:00 AM CST January 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri will open residence halls a day earlier than planned amid predictions of another winter... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 10:04:00 AM CST January 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Governor Mike Parson will give his first State of the State address in the Missouri House... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 7:25:00 AM CST January 16, 2019 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Staring down the next deadline to pay federal workers, the White House shifted tactics, trying to bypass... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 4:57:00 AM CST January 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Mayoral incumbent Brian Treece and opponent, Chris Kelly, faced off in the second mayoral candidate forum Tuesday. ... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 9:27:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
Watch KOMU 8 newscasts and download the KOMU WX app for live coverage and alerts. COLUMBIA - Another winter... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 8:30:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in Weather
OVERLAND (AP) — The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis is investigating a fatal shooting outside a McDonald's restaurant... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 4:37:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A new bill before the Senate would ban texting and driving for drivers of all ages. It's... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 4:24:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Kansas City police say people at one address fired 360 shots from at least nine guns... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 3:46:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
OSAGE BEACH – A Sunrise Beach woman who worked at a Zales Outlet Store admitted to stealing a diamond bracelet... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 3:43:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- The woman accused of killing 4-year-old Darnell Gray waived the formal reading on her arraignment on Tuesday and... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 3:00:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - When Tiwan Lewis lost her home to a fire in December 2017, she found herself experiencing homelessness.... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 2:55:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A central Missouri prosecutor's office has been ordered to pay $36,000 for failing to provide records... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 2:23:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, (AP) — Missouri House lawmakers on Tuesday voted against protections for LGBT staffers and gave themselves the option... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 2:09:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Authorities have arrested a man in the killing of his girlfriend in a Springfield home with two... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 1:35:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Federal authorities say two homicides in northwest Missouri last year were linked to a large methamphetamine... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 12:54:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City's public transit agency is offering free bus rides to federal workers ensnared... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 11:47:00 AM CST January 15, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 34°
3pm 34°
4pm 34°
5pm 34°
6pm 34°