JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s Office is changing how human trafficking is reported in the state to help increase response time and remove barriers in reporting.
Instead of using the Missouri-specific hotline, the attorney general’s office will be using the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Any calls made to the Missouri hotline will be redirected to the national hotline.
Using the national hotline will allow for more coordination between local, state and federal law enforcement across jurisdictions, according to a press release from Schmitt’s office. The change will also increase response time by law enforcement.
“Combating human trafficking is an integral duty of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, and it’s a duty that we take seriously,” said Schmitt. “Utilizing the National Human Trafficking Hotline is a crucial step to removing barriers to reporting, increasing response time, and allowing for more cross-jurisdictional cooperation, and it’s already working to aid potential victims of human trafficking.”
In the press release, Schmitt's office mentioned two positive stories that came from the switch to using the national hotline.
In the first story, a public transportation worker noticed something wasn’t right with a female passenger. The worker recognized signs that indicated she could be a victim of human trafficking and immediately called in a top to the national hotline.
The tip was referred to a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper who contacted a victim advocate. By the time the passenger disembarked, the trooper and victim advocate were there to assist her.
In the second story, a call came into the national hotline regarding a potential human trafficking situation at a hotel. From the time that the person called the hotline to the time officers knocked on the hotel door was 29 minutes.
“These types of stories wouldn’t be possible without tips being reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline and the important work of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, other law enforcement agencies, victim advocates, and members of the Missouri Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force,” the release stated.
To report a human trafficking situation, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or online at humantraffickinghotline.org.