Cherokee County, KS

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Cherokee County has a population of about 19,000 residents and and is situated in the “Four States” area of southwest Kansas. Prostitution and sex trafficking have occurred in the county, and among the efforts to ameliorate the many resulting problems was one large-scale operation that targeted sex buyers as well as pimps and prostituted women, and identified and rescued sex trafficking victims.

In September 2013, a four-day undercover operation designed to combat sex trafficking and prostitution was conducted in a four-county area encompassing the intersection of four states: southeast Kansas, northwest Oklahoma, northeast Arkansas, and southwest Missouri. “Operation Trojan Horse” was led by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control (OBNDDC), and involved a collaboration of many other agencies, including the sheriff’s departments of Ottawa County in Oklahoma, Rogers County in Arkansas, Cherokee County in Kansas, and Newton County in Missouri. Also participating in the sting/reverse sting were the police departments of Miami, Grove, and Tulsa; the Quapaw tribal marshals, Eastern Shawnee and Wyandotte tribal police, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Homeland Security Investigations (Department of Homeland Security).

The OBNDDC said in a news release that efforts were made during the four-day operation to target people engaged in prostitution in various cities and to identify any minors and adults trafficked into prostitution. Of the people arrested in all four counties, 20 were accused of soliciting prostitution (sex buyers). Eleven others were arrested on related misdemeanor offenses in Ottawa County, and were charged with either engaging in or soliciting prostitution. The investigation also resulted in the discovery of the sex trafficking of four females, including a 15-year-old girl. Eight people were charged with pimping or “aiding and abetting” prostitution.

In July 2018, the Kansas Attorney General announced a new awareness campaign in Kansas aimed at cutting the demand for prostitution as a way to fight human trafficking. The campaign involved state agencies and local advocacy groups teaming up to push the “Demand an End” initiative, which featured education and announcements warning people that sex buyers would face charges. The campaign intended to promote a culture in which buying sex is not acceptable. It was based on the assumption that the money from sex buyers fueled the marketplace that enabled sex trafficking.

Key Partners

  • Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement
  • Divisions Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
  • Homeland Security Investigations
  • Tulsa Police Department
  • Rogers County Sheriff’s Office (Arkansas)
  • Miami Police Department
  • Grove Police Department
  • Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office (Oklahoma)
  • Delaware County District Attorney’s Office
  • Quapaw Tribal Marshal’s
  • Eastern Shawnee Tribal Police
  • Wyandotte Nation Tribal Police
  • Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office (Kansas)
  • Newton County Sheriff’s Office (Missouri)
State Kansas
Type County
Population 19130
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