How a simple poster in Missouri is raising awareness about human trafficking

HALLTOWN, Mo. -- A new poster raises human trafficking awareness across the state of Missouri.

At Hood's Truck Stop near Halltown, posters about human trafficking have been up for about a year. But the store just added a new one. The Department of Public Safety created the poster. A new state law requires many establishments to hang it up.

Places that provide food, fuel and showers are just one of the long list of locations have been asked to put up the new poster. It also includes hospital emergency rooms and urgent care and women's health centers. Cox and Mercy Hospitals in Springfield are both displaying the new poster. Others on the list include hotels and motels, strip clubs, massage businesses, airports, as well as bus and train stations.

"You know, these victims of human trafficking might not be in public a lot, except for a short stop, and if we can place those posters in positions to where the victims might be able to see the phone number and make use of the resources," said Jeanna Hood, Hood's Truck Stop.

It's not clear yet if anyone is enforcing the law requiring these posters to be displayed. But they can be printed for free or ordered from the Missouri Department of Public Safety website. See the attached link.

Under House Bill 1246, beginning March 1, 2019, the Missouri Stop Human Trafficking poster is required to be displayed in a conspicuous place in or near the bathrooms or near the entrance of each of the following establishments:

-Hotels, motels, or other establishments that have been cited as a public nuisance for prostitution under Section 567.080 RSMo.
-Strip clubs or other sexually oriented businesses.
-Airports.
-Train stations that serve passengers.
-Emergency rooms within general acute care hospitals.
-Urgent care centers.
-Privately operated job recruitment centers.
-Businesses or establishments that offer massage or body work services for compensation.
-Women's health centers.
-Bus stations.
-Privately owned and operated facilities that provide food, fuel, shower or other sanitary facilities, and overnight parking.

Any owner or operator of an establishment required to post the human trafficking hotline notice that fails to comply can receive a written warning for the first violation and may be guilty of an infraction for any subsequent violation.