Heartland sheriff chosen to be part of MO's Human Trafficking Ta - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland sheriff chosen to be part of MO's Human Trafficking Task Force

MISSOURI (KFVS) -

A Heartland sheriff is taking what he knows about a growing problem in Missouri to the capital as a member of the Human Trafficking Task Force.

Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter will work alongside 20 other lawmakers, activists and members of law enforcement to bring awareness to the state's Human Trafficking problem.

Sheriff Walter said human trafficking is a $9 billion industry in the U.S., and Missouri's two largest cities rank near the top when it comes to this crime.

He said he hopes to bring his experience working with the SEMO Rescue and Restore Coalition on Human Trafficking to the task force. He said easy access to the interstate system is only one part of the problem. Right now, he said there are not enough resources for departments to fight these types of crimes.

“They are limited on resources. I can call another sheriff and say, 'This is going on in your county or I have this information,' he is busy doing the daily operation of his sheriff's office. I think, my humble opinion, I think there needs to be a task force to go out and actually target and work this like a drug task force,” Sheriff Walter said.

The task force will be responsible for raising awareness, providing organizations and agencies that enforce human trafficking laws a central place to share information, and make recommendations for legislation to lawmakers.

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, in this year alone, 1,345 human trafficking cases have been reported.

Missouri isn't the only state with a task force, earlier this year New York state launched a state-wide initiative to educate the public about the signs of trafficking.

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