JEFFERSON CITY - Tuesday, Attorney General Josh Hawley announced his new plan to fight against human trafficking in Missouri.
The Business Council against Human Trafficking will focus on increasing the availability of training for Missouri businesses to identify signs of trafficking.
“The attorney general’s office is in the process of creating training that will be made available free of charge to Missouri businesses to help these businesses and their employees learn to recognize trafficking, its symptoms, its signs and be able to combat it,” Hawley said.
The training is broken up into four topics:
Education- What is human trafficking?
Identification - How will I know if I witness human trafficking?
Prevention- How does trafficking happen? Why is it hard for victims to escape?
Action- What can I do to be part of the solution?
In a statement, the attorney general's office said the council is open to any Missouri business, big or small.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Hotel and Lodging Association, Missouri American Water and the Truman Medical Center are some Missouri businesses that are already part of the council.
President of Missouri American Water Cheryl Norton said this training will not just be able to benefit the state of Missouri but could be helpful nationwide.
“We are not only making a difference here, where we live and work. We also want to make a difference across the United States,” Norton said. “It is sad that we live in a world where we have to deal with issues like this, but it is not going to change unless we take it on and we address it straight up.”
This new business council is the second coalition Hawley created in the past six months to identify and prevent trafficking.
In April, Hawley announced the first statewide Human Trafficking Task Force. The task force is made up of law enforcement officials, local prosecutors, social-service providers, victims’ advocates and individual human-trafficking survivors.
According to Human Trafficking hotline’s website, there have been 74 human trafficking cases reported so far this year and 524 in the last decade in Missouri.