Source: The Huffington Post
03/21/2013 3:11 pm
Problem: Too many sex trafficking victims are not being found or helped in the United States because too many local governments are ignorant of state and federal human trafficking laws. Compounding this problem, cities and counties are lagging behind, not revising their laws to bring them into line with state law, and in some cases are even enacting new local legislation directly at odds with state law protecting human trafficking victims.
As soon as possible after a first encounter with a person who reasonably appears to a law enforcement agency to be a victim of trafficking as defined in section 566.200, that agency or office shall notify the department of social services and, where applicable, juvenile justice authorities, that the person may be a victim of trafficking, in order that such agencies may determine whether the person may be eligible for state or federal services, programs, or assistance.Yet, the new St. Louis City ordinance makes no mention of even screening for human trafficking among persons picked up for prostitution. One imagines the city law makers may have been unaware of what the state law provides. This is why we must organize to scrutinize our local laws. It looks like our city leaders need some education.