Thirty-year-old Stephen Ardrey, of Springfield, Mo., has pleaded guilty to charges he took a 17-year-old girl with learning disabilities from Massachusetts to Rhode Island, where he sold her for sex. By Sarah Heath
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A national conference on human trafficking is bringing together activists, law enforcement and business leaders in St. Louis this week.
Ignite: Sparking Action Against Sex Trafficking began Sunday night and continues through Tuesday. Featured speakers include Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner of St. Louis County and Rep. Ted Poe of Texas. Both are sponsors of proposed federal legislation to enhance services for victims and increase penalties for such crimes.
Conference organizers are also promoting an effort that enlists travel planners and hotel operators to watch for victims of sexual exploitation at their businesses.