Department of Public Safety Releases Poster Aimed at Combating Human Trafficking in Missouri

STOP Human Trafficking poster can be printed from DPS website or ordered online; certain businesses must display poster by March 1, 2019 according to new Missouri law

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Department of Public Safety today released a poster to provide information to assist human trafficking victims and raise awareness of the crime, whose victims are often hidden and fearful of coming forward. The poster must be displayed in Missouri airports, train stations, bus depots and certain types of businesses across the state beginning on March 1, 2019. The 8 ½ x 11 inch poster is headlined “STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING” and includes the toll free hotline of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (1-888-3737-888).

The poster is available on the DPS website (https://dps.mo.gov/) and can be accessed directly at: https://dps.mo.gov/human-trafficking/. Businesses that are not able to print the poster can use the website to order up to four copies to be mailed to their address. Additionally, all Missouri State Highway Patrol troop headquarters have copies at their reception desks. A list of troop locations is available at www.mshp.dps.mo.gov/.

Legislation requiring DPS to deliver the human trafficking awareness message in both English and Spanish in the same poster was the first legislation to pass through the Missouri General Assembly during the 2018 session. DPS is utilizing a federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant administered by the Missouri Department of Social Services to pay for printing and mailing costs.

“Human trafficking is the exploitation of vulnerable people that can include kidnapping, forced labor, and commercial sexual exploitation, and it happens in Missouri, just as it does in other states” Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten said. “We hope these posters not only help lead human trafficking victims to assistance, but help spread awareness about this terrible crime that affects people across our country.”

As part of the Department of Public Safety’s effort to combat human trafficking, since June, the Missouri State Highway Patrol has conducted specialized training in all nine troops across the state. The Interdiction for the Protection of Children training is conducted over 16 hours and concentrates on identifying signs during a traffic stop that a child might be in danger. A total of 307 troopers have completed the training. Since being trained, troopers have initiated 22 investigations.

On the poster, the phone number is not configured in the usual format in order to make it easier for people to remember the national hotline number (1-888-3737-888). It also includes the text number to the hotline, 233733 (BeFree), and its website, TraffickingResourceCenter.org.

Under House Bill 1246, beginning March 1, 2019, the Missouri Stop Human Trafficking poster is required to be displayed in a conspicuous place in or near the bathrooms or near the entrance of each of the following establishments:

Hotels, motels, or other establishments that have been cited as a public nuisance for prostitution under Section 567.080 RSMo.

Strip clubs or other sexually oriented businesses.

Airports.

Train stations that serve passengers.

Emergency rooms within general acute care hospitals.

Urgent care centers.

Privately operated job recruitment centers.

Businesses or establishments that offer massage or body work services for compensation.

Women’s health centers.

Bus stations.

Privately owned and operated facilities that provide food, fuel, shower or other sanitary facilities, and overnight parking.

Any owner or operator of an establishment required to post the human trafficking hotline notice that fails to comply can receive a written warning for the first violation and may be guilty of an infraction for any subsequent violation.