Illinois businesses now must post human-trafficking hotline - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Illinois businesses now must post human-trafficking hotline

A sign the Scott County Sheriff is handing out to different businesses. (Source: Jasmine Dell/KFVS) A sign the Scott County Sheriff is handing out to different businesses. (Source: Jasmine Dell/KFVS)

A new law is requiring many Illinois businesses to post information about a human trafficking hotline in an attempt to curb what officials call "modern-day slavery."

The Illinois Department of Human Services says it's working with the state labor department and the attorney general's office to raise awareness of the problem.

Under the law that took effect Jan. 1, businesses ranging from bars to truck stops to job recruitment centers must post the number for the National Human-Trafficking Resource Center hotline near a public entrance or other location where employees will see it. Businesses that don't comply could be fined.

IDHS Secretary-designate James Dimas says human trafficking exploits people for forced labor or sex - or both. He says the law is aimed at helping victims get to safety.

Businesses that don't follow the new law could face a $500 fine and $1,000 fine for a second offense.

"Victims are not provided specific protective provisions and the state’s abuse and neglect definitions fail to include commercial sexual exploitation to allow for child welfare intervention," according to Missouri's Protected Innocence Challenge, where the state received a B rating.

Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter is a member of the Missouri Human Trafficking Task Force and he said that the signs will make customers and workers more aware of what could be going on around them.

"I think it's a good idea because there's a lot of those places where there they're going to require those posters to be at, and that's a good spot for trafficking," Walter said. "There's a lot of good people at those places and they don't really realize what's going on and that might help them too."

Walter said if everything looks like that law would work here he said he would support the idea. 

"That seems like a great Idea, I'm definitely going to look and and maybe that's something we can borrow from them," Walter said.

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center has Missouri statistics for 2015 along with Illinois statistics for 2015.

National Human Trafficking Resource Center 1-888-373-7888

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