The Justice Department thinks as many as 17,500 people are brought to this country every year by human traffickers. And, Missouri has a new law attacking that underground economy. It was a late-blooming issue in this year’s legislative session, an idea Senator Joan Bray of St. Louis brought back with her from a conference on women’s issues in which a Justice Department official said St. Louis was the 13th worst place in America for child prostitution – with many of them brought to this country just for that purpose. Missouri’s new law lets local prosecutors go after human traffickers in cases the federal government considers too small. The Justice Department says smuggling and trafficking of people is a $9.5-Billion industry in the United States, and that does not count American fathers who sell their daughters; boyfriends who pimp for girlfriends, and others. Bray hopes Missouri’s law takes a big bit out of this state’s part of that economy and protects people who otherwise would be victims.
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