© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'It's modern-day sex slavery:' House criminalizes promotion, facilitation, of online sex trafficking

U.S. Rep Ann Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin, raised $804,000 from Jan. 1 to March 31.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
U.S. Rep Ann Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin, worked on H.R. 1865 for a couple of years to address online sex trafficking.

On Friday’s “Behind the Headlines” on St. Louis on the Air, we took an in-depth look at a bill on sex trafficking that has passed overwhelmingly in the U.S. House of Representatives and will be moving on to the Senate.

Joining us on this week’s edition was Congresswoman Ann Wagner to talk about her legislation criminalizing the advertising of sex trafficking online which passed the House this week. She is the representative for Missouri’s 2nd District and has worked on the bill for a couple of years.

Host Don Marsh asked her about why the bill has taken so long to pass.

“I will tell you this has been a labor of love but, sadly, one that was born out of necessity,” Wagner replied. “Anything that’s big, any piece of legislation that is consequential is a big lift and is hard to do.”

She said the bill makes it criminal for the facilitation and the promotion of prostitution and reckless disregard of sex trafficking. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children states that there has been an 846 percent increase in children being trafficked, with 81 percent of them trafficked online.

“We now have the tools to say, ‘if you are putting up and selling these women and children, and young boys and men, on the internet, we will go after you,” she said. “It is a crime. It is modern-day sex slavery.”

Wagner said the bill is expected to pass through the Senate the week of March 12 with full support from the White House.

Listen to the full interview here:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

Stay Connected
Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.