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Sex trafficking in Missouri

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month across the country. One Missouri lawmaker is working to raise more awareness to the dangerous issue in the state. Senator Jamilah Nasheed sponsored the concurrent resolution to recognize January as Sex Trafficking Awareness Month in Missouri.

It’s an issue ABC 17 News has been digging into for the past few years. Websites like “backpage” and other modeling sites are common tools used.

Survivors at a presentation Tuesday night said the problem is getting worse. Columbia community members gathered at the Columbia Public Lbrary Friends Room to commemorate National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Lawmakers have worked to make it an awareness month now specific to the state. This January was Missouri’s first Sex Trafficking Awareness Month.

Between 2008 and 2012, more than 100 victims were rescued just in Cole County.

One survivor says she now makes it her mission to stop others from falling into the same trap she did years ago. “Whatever I can do to bring awareness, education and to stop even one person from going down the wrong path or meeting up with the wrong person at the wrong time, that’s exactly what I’m here for, to share my story so it can possibly save a life,” says survivor Jessica Luebbert

A rally was also held at the capitol earlier today to celebrate the month designation.

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