Recent local legislative actions in major U.S. cities show alarming ignorance of state and federal law regarding human trafficking, and put those cities in danger of violating the constitutional rights and legal protections of vulnerable persons. Local actions are extremely important and directly impact the national and global treatment of women and children.
On November 11, 2012 the City of St. Louis, Missouripassed an ordinance to remove “prostitutes” from St. Louis’ streets. This ordinance makes no provision for screening “prostitutes” for human trafficking victims, even though human trafficking victims’ presence in street level commercial sexual exploitation is well known and documented, and Missouri is no exception to this.
Nor does the ordinance mention or take action against the buyers of prostituted or trafficked persons.. Which is to say the law targets women and girls, leaving men free to go elsewhere to drive the market for commercial sex…
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