The Missouri Attorney General's Office partnered with Truckers Against Trafficking, the Missouri Trucking Association, the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Tuesday, April 23 in Sedalia to address combatting human trafficking.
Nearly 100 law enforcement and transportation stakeholders gathered to learn about human trafficking in Missouri and how these professionals are uniquely positioned to identify and report suspected trafficking. Information was presented by Emily Russell from the Missouri Attorney General's Office, Esther Goetsch, Annie Sovcik and Beth Jacobs from Truckers Against Trafficking and law enforcement panelists Sgt. Daniel Nash of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Keaton Strong from Ritenour School District Crisis Response and Det. Chip Root of Joplin Police Department. The information shared will ultimately lead to more collaboration between the two fields to better prevent, identify and combat human trafficking throughout Missouri.
"Raising awareness, educating citizens, and collaborating with law enforcement and other agencies are crucial to fighting for an end to this form of modern day slavery," said Attorney General Eric Schmitt. "I’m dedicated to protecting the life of every human being, especially the most vulnerable citizens of our state and country."
"These collaborations are where conversations begin that change the way we perceive and respond to this violent crime," said Russell, "Traffickers and buyers have been operating on our lack of awareness for decades. It’s time to empower our state’s professionals to be a part of the solution and let these criminals know we are actively watching out for their activity. Human trafficking is not tolerated in Missouri."
The Missouri Attorney General's Office houses the Human Trafficking Task Force and Anti-Trafficking Enforcement Unit and, at their center, www.MakeMoFree.com was created to close the gaps between professionals and the information and resources needed to better identify, report and respond to trafficking crimes.
If you suspect human trafficking, you can report it directly to the Anti-Trafficking Enforcement Unit at 844-487-0492 or submit a tip online through www.MakeMoFree.com. The Missouri Attorney General's Office offers free POST certified human trafficking training for Missouri law enforcement professionals. Please send all training inquiries to Emily Russell at Emily.email@example.com.