Missouri congresswoman Vicky Hartzler will host a Summit on Human Trafficking in Columbia Monday, April 30.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Missouri ranks 16th in the nation for number of trafficking reports. That’s a number Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler is trying to change.
Hartzler’s Summit on Human Trafficking will bring together victims, advocates, and law enforcement to share their experiences and discuss efforts to combat trafficking. She hosted a similar summit four years ago, but she said there is still work to be done.
Hartzler said people don’t always realize that human trafficking can happen to anyone and comes in many different forms.
“You hear the term sex trafficking and you think oh that's something that's happening maybe over in Cambodia or some foreign country,” she said,” “and it's pretty shocking to learn it's happening here in America.”
Hartzler and other lawmakers have been tackling the issue in Congress with a number of bills. She sponsored a bill that recently passed in the House that would provide resources to law enforcement fighting the demand side of sex trafficking.
“But it's the local communities, it's the local neighbors, it's the local people who actually are seeing this and impacted by it,” Hartzler said. “And they need to have that discussion together on how, first of all what laws need to be passed to help the situation, but then also how they can be implemented in our local communities to make a real difference.”
The event will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Battle High School Performing Arts Center.