The state house has again proposed making it illegal to advertise sex with a victim of human trafficking.

Representative Elijah Haahr (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representative Elijah Haahr (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

A similar bill cleared the House last year that would have made such advertising illegal when it involves children. This year’s bill includes adults.

Such advertising was identified as a top priority by a task force on human trafficking, but Representative Tracy McCreery (D-St. Louis) says most think the law already addresses it.

“It’s just unbelievable to me and when you talk to neighbors about these things they can’t believe that this is even legal, and to me it just seems like good, clean, policy making that we should be getting up with the times and close the loopholes in the law that allow advertising children and other people for sex is even legal,” said McCreery.

House sponsor Elijah Haahr (R-Springfield) noted both this year’s bill and its predecessor cleared the House with unanimous support.

“This is a bipartisan fight against the traffickers, and this is one more step in the war for our state that we can move forward in this,” said Haahr.

Last year’s bill was one of those that was not taken up in the Senate in the final days of the session.

Haahr has led a task force on sex trafficking and said more recommendations based on its work are coming, including proposed changes in state spending either in the budget being developed now or in the one the legislature will work on next year; legislation to allow victims of sex trafficking to participate in a state system that will allow them to hide their addresses, and a proposal being developed that would toughen penalties against those who solicit sex from victims of trafficking.