New bill aims to protect addresses of human trafficking victims

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JEFFERSON CITY – A proposed bill aims to help victims of human trafficking keep their home addresses protected.

Rep. Tracy McCreery is sponsoring the bill that would allow victims to join the existing “Safe at Home” program that is already used by rape victims.

The “Safe at Home” program allows participants to protect their home address by using a P.O. box for legal paperwork and to receive their mail.

“If someone wanted to apply to get their conceal and carry, for example, normally you would have to use your address, but in a situation like that you can just use a P.O. box,” McCreery said. “Another great example of that is if you want to register to vote you have to use an actual, physical address.”

The program is also currently open to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking victims.

McCreery said, “I think it’s important to add trafficking victims to be eligible for the ‘Safe at Home’ program because it will give victims of trafficking safety and security, and they’ll be able to get down the road to recovery knowing that their assailant cant find their home address.”

McCreery said human trafficking is defined as any act someone does under force, fraud or coercion.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said, “1 in 6 endangered runaways reported to N.C.M.E.C. in 2014 were likely sex trafficking victims.”

The Polaris Project is another resource available to people who have experienced human trafficking or who are looking for more information on the issue.

A similar bill was presented last year, but McCreery said this is the first time the trafficking bill included the “Safe at Home” program.