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MO Group Aims to End Sex Trafficking

PHOTO: A new organization hopes to put an end to sex trafficking crimes with a multifaceted, community-based approach that goes far beyond law enforcement. Photo credit: Microsoft images.
PHOTO: A new organization hopes to put an end to sex trafficking crimes with a multifaceted, community-based approach that goes far beyond law enforcement. Photo credit: Microsoft images.
January 10, 2014

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A Missouri group hopes to bring a dark underworld to light by hosting what it says is the first national, comprehensive conference on sex trafficking.

Molly Hackett, principal of the anti-trafficking group Exchange Initiative, is organizing the event.

It’s called Ignite: Sparking Action Against Sex Trafficking and she says it will bring together professionals from law enforcement, medicine, education, faith-based and community groups to help better understand the problem and coordinate action.

"Everyone needs each other,” she stresses. “We need the school counselors to understand what they're seeing – much as for law enforcement, what resources are available in safe housing, who can they call – to make everyone's efforts just so much more effective."

The conference takes place March 2 through March 4 in St. Louis. More information is online at ExchangeInitiative.com.

Saturday is the 8th annual National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Hackett says while it's clear the problem exists in Missouri, it's difficult to get a handle on exact statistics.

"It hasn't been categorized very well,” she points out. “When you look at police reports, it's different from every state as far as arrests and the victim, or if they're being trafficked, versus the john and the pimp.

She adds it is estimated that there are at least 300,000 children nationwide, and more than one million worldwide, who are at risk of being victims of sex trafficking.


Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO