Rick Francis

Representative Rick Francis, 145th District Representative

The first bill passed by the Missouri House of Representatives for the 2019 session is meant to honor one of the state’s most dedicated public servants. House members gave overwhelming support this week to a bill that would name a section of road in St. Louis County as the Cloria Brown Memorial Highway. Brown, who worked tirelessly as a state representative to help some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, passed away in March of 2018 during her third term in office.

As members discussed the bill on the House floor, they talked about the positive impact Brown had on her district and the state. The sponsor of the bill told her colleagues, “During her time in the Missouri House, Representative Brown worked tirelessly to help women, children, and the most vulnerable. She was a champion of veterans and worked on many levels on human trafficking issues.

Lawmakers Help Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking

Legislators and citizens gathered in the state Capitol this week for an event to help raise awareness of the growing problem of human trafficking.

The legislature has passed several measures in recent years to raise awareness and combat traffickers. In 2015, the General Assembly created a Human Trafficking Task Force to raise awareness of the problem in Missouri and provide organizations and agencies that enforce human trafficking laws and assist victims with a central place to share information.

In 2016, the legislature expanded the crime of sexual trafficking of a child to include the advertisement of a child participating in a commercial sexual act. This law struck a serious blow against traffickers and protected hundreds if not thousands of innocent lives. The bill also allowed human trafficking victims to participate in the Address Confidentiality Program administered by the Secretary of State. 

In 2018, the General Assembly approved the Department of Public Safety to develop human trafficking hotline posters to provide victims information on how to reach the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline. This hotline has had much success in rescuing victims of the modern day form of slavery. Promoting the phone number and how to text the hotline in common areas where human trafficking occurs - such as hotels or motels that have been cited for prostitution or train and bus stations, as well as, truck stops - is one step toward helping the victims of sex trafficking get help. The bill was championed by former state Representative Cloria Brown. 

We are finally hearing some bills in our committees and debates on the floor are just around the corner. Looking forward to it.

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