KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Attorney General Schmitt and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are teaming up to fight back against human trafficking in Missouri. In a press conference today, Attorney General Schmitt announced that the Missouri Attorney General’s Office is joining the FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force.
“Human trafficking remains one of the top priorities of my office, and we will continually work to build partnerships and compile resources to combat this horrific practice. Whether you’re aware of it or not, human trafficking is happening in Missouri,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “I’m grateful to the FBI for facilitating this important task force and allowing the Attorney General’s Office to join their efforts to combat human trafficking. With this coordination between all of the agencies on the task force and the talented men and women in the Attorney General’s Office, we are building a formidable resource to put an end to modern day slavery.”
“The FBI welcomes the addition to the current task force. The more man power we can have to address these crimes and provide a rapid, proactive and intelligence driven investigative response, the better. This collaborate effort allows us to reduce the vulnerabilities and victimization of children and better enables us to bring to justice those responsible for committing these heinous act,” said FBI Kansas City Special Agent in Charge Darrin Jones.
The Child Exploitation Task Force was initiated in 2013, and combined with the Human Trafficking Task Force in 2019. The task force works to pool resources, increase coordination, and work towards more efficient ways to promote awareness and build cases against traffickers. The Attorney General’s Office will dedicate staff to participating in task force meetings and other procedures.
Excluding the FBI, 8 departments are involved in the Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. Additionally, these departments make up 13 members of the Task Force, excluding FBI personnel. Departments include Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office, Joplin Police Department, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Kansas City Missouri Police Department, Overland Park Police Department, Springfield Missouri Police Department, Topeka Police Department, Wichita Police Department.
The Attorney General’s Office also has resources to raise awareness about human trafficking. Makemofree.com has a series of training videos that show citizens how to spot human trafficking and how to report it, as well as hotline numbers. The Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force, which is separate from the FBI Task Force, has trained approximately 3,000 people ranging from law enforcement, health officials, government employees, and citizens. Recently, the Attorney General’s Office partnered with Truckers Against Trafficking for a summit to educate truckers on how they can help combat human trafficking.
Video from the press conference can be found here.