by Mike Ferguson
(St. Charles, MO) – We may not want to believe it but Missouri is among the top states in the US when it comes to human trafficking. Thousands of forced labor and sex trafficking victims pass through our state each week. Some are being taken somewhere else and some are being brought here for exploitation.
When it comes to sex trafficking, the victims could be forced to work in strip clubs, could be the person offered through an online ad, could be bringing in money for an “escort service” or simply forced on the streets to work as a prostitute. The experts agree: it’s happening in most communities and is most profitable when those nearby either don’t recognize what’s happening or ignore it as “not my problem”.
This week, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R) explains the efforts being made to pass laws and crack down on the advertising of sex trafficking in print, online and through wireless devices. Her proposal, she says, also gives prosecutors more legal tools to use against traffickers.
Also, FBI Special Agent Jennifer Lynch gives us a look at federal law enforcement’s work to stop traffickers during a report by Dennise Ramirez. The Bureau provides video footage for this week’s program that gives us a look at those efforts from the front lines of sting operations. Agent Lynch explains why your help is crucial to taking on the multi-billion dollar underground industry that enslaves mostly girls and women.
The realities are brutal and not everyone who is trapped in sex trafficking survives.
Christine McDonald is back on “Missouri Viewpoints” as well. She survived being a trafficking victim for over 15 years. She talks about the efforts to rescue others from the life of underground trafficking and how you can help those who are trying to leave “the life”.
Fortunately, there are two organizations in our state working to get girls and women away from the pimps and into a safe place. While being sheltered, these groups work to heal them physically, emotionally and spiritually so they can make the transition from victim to survivor. The goal is simple: allow these women to live normal, healthy lives free of the abuse, danger and risks that come with sex trafficking.
On the web:
Congresswoman Ann Wagner: http://wagner.house.gov/
FBI – Human Trafficking Info: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking
Christine McDonald: www.CryPurple.com