Elad's Plan to Fight Human AND DRUG Trafficking
Missouri's central location makes our state a significant location for illegal trafficking in the United States. Combined with lax regulations and enforcement, we've seen terrible human trafficking abuses in Missouri, from the operation of extensive regional trafficking rings to interstate movement and kidnapping of children by boarding schools that preyed on desperate families, took parents' money, and then abused their children as part of the troubled teen industry.
Oftentimes, human trafficking is closely tied to drug trafficking. Human trafficking rings frequently smuggle drugs as well, and some traffickers use addiction to control their victims.
Although our Attorney General is in charge of our state's Human Trafficking Task Force, he has done little to invest in the coordinating effort to combat human trafficking in Missouri. As Attorney General, I will:
1. Put victims first. We cannot expect effective or just results by criminalizing the victims of trafficking. We need to help people escape their traffickers, provide rehabilitative treatment, and offer the full resources of our state to make sure victims are not revictimized. We also need to employ harm-reduction strategies and ensure that Naloxone is widely available. We must treat the effects of trafficking like the public health crisis that it is.
2. Hold those responsible accountable. Local and federal prosecutors are responsible for enforcing criminal laws involving trafficking, and, as Attorney General, we will assist those offices with their investigations. The Attorney General is uniquely positioned to investigate and dismantle the financial forces behind trafficking that exploit our communities for profit. As Attorney General, I will use my authority over corporations in Missouri to disband those entities enabling trafficking in our state, and we will hold pharmaceutical companies and executives accountable for what they have done to our families.
3. Ensure the Human Trafficking Task Force is fully operational. Disrupting trafficking requires a coordinated effort between government agencies at the local, state, and federal level. We need an Attorney General who will prioritize the operation of our state's coordinating task force.
4. Rejoin the national network of Attorneys General to better coordinate efforts across states. Our previous Attorneys General withdrew Missouri from the national network of Attorneys General for political purposes. Traffickers move their victims and contraband across state lines. We need regional, national, and international coordination to stop trafficking networks. It's time we have an Attorney General who prioritizes you and your family, not the Attorney General's political ambitions.
5. Work with local, state, and federal law enforcement to effectively prosecute traffickers. Prosecutions for human trafficking can be very complex given the many tools traffickers use to conceal their operations. Local prosecutors need an Attorney General who will be their partner and bring the resources of our state to bear on traffickers. Our Office's Public Safety Division will regularly assist prosecutors around the state and provide regular communication and updates to disrupt human trafficking networks. We also need a national coordinated effort to deal with trafficking of dangerous and often mislabeled drugs, including the ever-increasing supply of fentanyl and other opioids. Many of the drugs available on the street are a combination of chemicals, some of which cause severe health effects, like open wounds that require immediate treatment. We will increase information transfer across jurisdictions to warn communities of the dangers.
6. Advocate for increased resources for survivors of human trafficking. Many victims of human trafficking are psychologically assaulted and repeatedly told that they are alone and can only be protected by their traffickers. We need to sustainably offer serious resources for survivors of human trafficking, including health care, education, housing, rehabilitation, and real opportunity. As Attorney General, I will include service providers in our state task force and take their needs to the legislature, and our Office will seek grants to improve our efforts to address human trafficking.
7. Enforce Missouri's consumer protection and nonprofit laws against boarding facilities that abuse children. Several child abusers came to Missouri, set up nonprofit organizations, operated boarding facilities for children, advertised services to desperate families across state lines, and tortured children under their care because of our lax laws, regulations, and enforcement actions. I have worked with survivors of this abuse and family members who received no information from our state's Attorney General. I will use Missouri's consumer protection and nonprofit laws to go after these fake charities and shut them down, and I will work with local prosecutors to ensure child abusers are brought to justice.
8. Support harm reduction strategies. Addiction can rip families apart and isolate victims, increasing the likelihood of addiction-related fatalities. There are several organizations throughout Missouri providing addiction resources and offering Missourians a safe, consistent, supportive environment to reduce the disconnect many victims of drug trafficking experience, and we need to support more of those efforts all over the state. We also will support the training of more Missourians to use Naloxone.
9. Support pain patients. In our opioid crisis, many pain patients who are rightfully prescribed opioids are often left out of the conversation. We can monitor abuses in prescribing while also making sure Missourians are able to access the health care they need. As Attorney General, I will not ignore the chronic pain patients of our state.
10. Launch the Missouri Attorney General App to educate the public about the signs of human trafficking, share resources for addiction, and collect more tips from the public. Many tips about human trafficking come from witnesses who see something and say something. Our phone app will make it easier for witnesses to send in tips and evidence, help families access resources, and educate the public about the signs of human trafficking and the patterns in drug trafficking.
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