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8/1/11Posted Monday, August 1, 2011, at 9:36 AM
Family is important to all of usł and we would risk life or limb to protect them. This is particularly true when it comes to our children. We worked hard in the Missouri House last session to protect families and, children in particular, by strengthening our laws on human trafficking and partial birth abortion. Two weeks ago, these bills officially became law as the deadline for the governor to sign bills passed.
Human trafficking brings all kinds of horrible images to mind: people packed into freight containers and being shipped like cargo, individuals forced to work long hours for no pay, women and children sold into the sex trade and forced servitude at a contemptible level.
This has happened right here in Missouri. We have seen cases in Blue Springs, Lebanon, Kansas City and Branson. The perpetrators are targeting and exploiting immigrants who want to come to the United States.
Human trafficking can be difficult to recognize. Many times everything can appear to be normal, but it isn't. A neighbor's housekeeper or the maid at a local hotel could be the victim of this crime. This crime always occurs behind closed doors.
Human trafficking occurs because the rest of the world wants to experience the American Dream. Many immigrants will risk everything to come here. And, once they are here, they believe they will be able to find work, own a home and provide for their families.
Unfortunately, criminals use the American Dream to exploit immigrants. They may promise to pay a young mother's way to the United States or even promise that work is waiting for her and her child once they make it.
But once they get here, it becomes a nightmare. The immigrants are forced into servitude and are even being forced into pornography. The criminals will go as far as kidnapping people and separating families purposefully to gain success.
Surprisingly, human trafficking cases have increased in Missouri. This is unacceptable. That is why we passed HB 214. HB 214 protects individuals who have been separated from their families and shipped to Missouri. We must do everything in our power to stop this heinous crime from happening here any longer.
HB 213 officially became law without the governor's signature. HB 213 bans late-term abortions without a valid reason. For most Missourians, debating abortion often ignites strong feelings on both sides. As a result, changing abortion law has become controversial and divisive.
For this reason, we focused on the issues within the debate where we agree. Late-term abortion was one such area. Both Democrats and Republicans find late-term abortions offensive. And, I have to say, the debate on HB 213 was both civil and professional.
HB 213 specifies that no abortion of a viable unborn child can be performed or induced unless the mother's health is at risk. The threshold for viability is set at 20 weeks. Even though abortions can still occur to save the life of the mother, over 92 percent of abortions are performed for other reasons. HB 213 will go far in reducing the number of abortions occurring in Missouri.
As your representative, it is my job to protect our families and the life of all children in the 163rd District. These two bills that became law go far to strengthen Missouri law on these fronts. And I will continue working to protect our children and families.
Next week, we will continue the discussion on bills that gained final approval.
As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House. If you would like to discuss any issue, please call 573-751-3629. You can also email me at Kent.Hampton@house.mo.gov. I look forward to hearing from you.
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