MO House approves sex trafficking bill, sends to Senate
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House gave its final approval Thursday for a bill intended to make advertising sex trafficking illegal.
Rep. Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, is the sponsor for the bill that states, "Under current law, a person commits sexual trafficking of a child by knowingly recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a child to participate in a commercial sex act, a sexual performance, or the production of sexually explicit material. This act adds, as an element of sexual trafficking of a child, advertising the availability of a child to participate in a commercial sex act, a sexual performance, or the production of explicit sexual material."
Nanette Ward, a board member for the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition, said sex trafficking is a concern throughout Missouri.
"It is so critical that are legislation includes advertisement," Ward said. "Sex trafficking is already a crime, state and federal. But to have the advertisement, where folks in the middle are knowingly recruiting so they can advertise and they're in that train of the whole crime happening against our children, will be a really important piece to be included as part of the crime of sex trafficking."
The bill is now headed to the Senate.