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Springfield, MO

Attorney general forms business council in human trafficking fight

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Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley formed a business council to help his office crack down on human trafficking.

The newest group joins a statewide anti-trafficking task force that includes local law enforcement and government officers, according to a news release.

“The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been supporting Missouri businesses for almost 100 years and, working together, we have overcome many challenges,” said Daniel Mehan, president of the state chamber, a member of the business council, in the release. “That is why it makes sense that we come together now to help stop human trafficking in our state and nation. 

“We are grateful that the attorney general has asked Missouri businesses to play an integral role.”

The business council includes J.E. Dunn Construction Co., which operates a Springfield office; the Missouri Hotel and Lodging Association; Missouri American Water; the Missouri Municipal League; and the Professional Women’s Alliance. Businesses interested in participating in the council are encouraged to contact the attorney general’s office.

The council is tasked with increasing training opportunities about human trafficking, especially for employees whose industries are most likely to encounter such situations, according to the release.

“Missouri’s businesses are leaders in communities across our state, and our new business council allows them to lead on one of the most important issues we face today,” Hawley said in the release. “I look forward to partnering with Missouri’s business leaders to end the scourge of modern-day slavery.”

The attorney general’s separate human trafficking task force includes Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson and Springfield Police Department Chief Paul Williams.

Hawley’s office was a key player in July when multiple agencies served search warrants at 13 Springfield Asian massage parlor businesses suspected of human trafficking and prostitution.

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