Human trafficking training could become mandatory for some employees

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House of Representatives will hold a public hearing Monday afternoon to discuss a bill related to human trafficking. 

House Bill 480 requires employees of some Missouri businesses to have 20 minutes of interactive human trafficking awareness training within six months of working at the establishment. 

Nanette Ward, a survivor advocate and board member of Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition, said those twenty minutes could make a big difference. 

"The training has to be practical to reach the masses," Ward said. "Of course there's much more information that can be given that can take a longer amount of time, but there are some really basic indicators, basic ways to understand slavery in today's time that can be accomplished in twenty minutes." 

The establishments are the same businesses specified in HB 1246, also known as Missouri's poster bill, which passed in 2018. 

The poster bill requires certain Missouri establishments to hang a poster created by the Department of Public Safety. The poster provides information regarding the national human trafficking resource center hotline.

According to the poster bill, some of the establishments that will require employee training and a poster include truck stops, airports, strip clubs, urgent care centers, hotels, motels and train stations. 

"It just makes sense that those same places are where employees need to be educated and not just stick a poster up," Ward said.

If you or someone you know is experiencing human trafficking you can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.