Kansas City and Missouri have become hubs for human trafficking.
In an effort to combat this “under-reported crime,” Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed a bill into law Wednesday in Kansas City to expand penalties for sex trafficking and protect victims.
“We tend to think of trafficking as something that happens in the distant, undeveloped countries,” said Nixon during a press conference in Kansas City. “But the tragic reality is that is happens here in the United States. Human trafficking is a real and growing problem.”
The governor was joined by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and State Rep. Elijah Haahr (R-Springfield).
The new law prohibits advertisements on websites and apps of minors and non-consenting adults for prostitution or pornography. It also expands protections for victims. Under this new law, victims of sexual crimes will be allowed to substitute their home addresses for another address in public records. Anyone who attempts to access the address of a victim could now be charged with stalking.
The law goes into effect Aug. 28.
Ariel Rothfield can be reached at Ariel.Rothfield@KSHB.com.