Kansas City, MO

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

Kansas City, Missouri is a city of approximately 508,000 residents located in Jackson County, MO. The city and surrounding areas have had well documented problems with prostitution and sex trafficking for many decades. Given the structure of the twin cities of Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, MO, many of the police operations and other efforts to address prostitution and sex trafficking are joint efforts of the two cities, in addition to the respective county sheriff’s offices and neighboring suburbs in the two states. In a recent example, over 100 arrests were made and nearly 50 victims were rescued in an inter-state human trafficking operation based out of Missouri. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol were the main communications coordinating the operations in “Operation United Front.” The multi-state human trafficking operations used sting operations to apprehend sex buyers buyers and to identify and extract victims.  According to the report, 102 arrests were made and medical services were given to 41 victims that were rescued.  According to Missouri Attorney General Schmitt, the Missouri portion of the operation took place at a business in Kansas City, and the investigation resulted in two arrests and 11 victims being provided medical care.

John Schools

Kansas City is one of the first cities in the United States to have a “john school” education program for men arrested for soliciting prostitution, and at times has had two that operated within the city. (Note:  for the purposes of this website, we often address Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO together, since many of the programs and practices overlap or operate collaboratively across the city lines; similar situation exists in the “twin cities” of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota). The first was launched in 1992, by the Kansas City Municipal Court and an addiction/counseling center, Community Addictions Programs. A second program was launched in 2002,  Offender’s Accountability Re-Education program (OAR) (Johnz Scool) by a non-profit, survivor-led organization, Veronica’s Voice. In 2018, this program was redesigned after the Stopping Sexual Exploitation (SSE) and as of 2022, is currently operating. A third program was currently by Kansas City Corrective Training, a for-profit corporation. As of 2022, we are unsure if this program is still in operation. Kansas City was also among the cities to make first use of local television in efforts designed specifically to combat demand, by airing the names and photographs of men arrested in reverse stings (1997).  Veronica’s Voice also makes public presentations about the need to combat demand, which they call the End Demand Campaign.

Johnz School, Offenders Accountability Re-Education Program (OAR)

In 2002, Veronica’s Voice Offenders Accountability Re-Education, or Johnz School, was created as an intensive, one-day, educational class. This program was modeled after early john school programs such as FOPP in San Francisco, CA and similarly focused on reducing the demand side of prostitution. Attendees were all court ordered. This was the only program that is fee-based at Veronica’s Voice. This program was designed as an alternative to conviction for first-time offenders arrested for patronizing prostitution (not involving a minor) as a condition of probation, diversion, or in lieu of prosecution. The fees collected from the Johnz School (paid by participating sex buyers) went back into Veronica’s Voice services and programming for victims of prostitution and sex trafficking. Classes were regularly scheduled on the 3rd Saturday of each month and cost $850, payable by only cash or money order. A certificate of completion is granted at the end of the class if the fee is paid in full. For further information on the Johnz School, click here: Johnz School 2008-2014 Evaluation Report

Stopping Sexual Exploitation: A Program for Men

In 2018, Veronica’s Voice worked with Peter Qualliotine to redesign the Johnz School to replicate a more extensive model that Peter first developed in Seattle through Organization for Prostitution Survivors, Stop Sexual Exploitation (SSE). This program sought to build on recommendations to the current john school model and emphasize the effectiveness of the program on the behavior change of individual participants. The Kansas City program, Stopping Sexual Exploitation: a Program for Men focused on o strengthening the meaning and influence of the sex-buyer intervention program as a legal consequence to sex buying that sets social norms for the larger population. The Kansas City, MO based program was created by Model Equality and Veronica’s Voice and is and open to all courts within the Kansas City MSA. SSEKC is designed to help men understand their behavior and promote their accountability in choosing to not buy sex. The program consists of the following components:

  • Two individual 60-minute sessions of Motivational Interviewing (MI) before participation in the group. (MI has been proven to enhance the effectiveness of group intervention programs for perpetration of Domestic Violence and people struggling with chemical dependency.)
  • Eight weekly group sessions will follow. Group size is limited, and the eight three-hour learning modules are highly interactive, utilizing exercises and group discussion to engage participants in a process of self-reflection and critical analysis. Weekly topics include:
      1. Sexuality and Gender Socialization
      2. Harm to Victim/Survivors
      3. The Sexual Violence Continuum
      4. Pimping, Trafficking and Domestic Violence
      5. Power and Violence
      6. Vulnerability
      7. Mutuality in Relationships
      8. The Will to Change

The SSEKC program costs $850.00 with a sliding scale available to those who provide income verification. The process for successful completion of the program is as follows:

Screen Shot 2021-05-03 at 3.06.09 PM.png

For more information on the SSEKC program follow the links below:

Public Education

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

Reverse Stings

In June 2021, a 51-year-old man was arrested and accused of soliciting sex with – and furnishing pornographic materials to – a minor. Jackson County Prosecutors charged the man with patronizing prostitution with a minor, which is a felony, and five misdemeanor counts of furnishing pornographic materials to a minor. According to court records, two teens in Independence were approached by the man at a fast-food restaurant, where he initially offered them jobs at his company. Later, the man allegedly told one of the teens he was willing to pay $500 for nude pictures, according to court documents. The two juveniles said they made the man aware of their age.  Investigators said that a police detective later contacted the man, making him believe he was one of the teens. They discussed the possibility of sending him images or videos of sex acts for money.  The suspect then sent pornographic videos to the police detective and he later asked to engage in sex acts, believing it was the juvenile.

In May 2022, 32 people were arrested in a massive child exploitation operation conducted across Missouri and Kansas. Authorities with the Department of Homeland Security said 15 of those arrests came from a sting conducted in Independence, Kansas City, Jackson, Platte, and Clay Counties in Missouri, and Bourbon County in Kansas. Multiple law enforcement agencies in the Wichita area teamed up for Operation Blue Ghost, which netted 17 arrests for crimes including aggravated human trafficking, promoting the sale of sex, and purchasing sex acts. Authorities in the Kansas City area collaborated to arrest an additional 15 individuals. According to a release from the Midwest division of the DHS, partners in and around Independence, Kansas City, Clay County, and Platte County in Missouri, and in Bourbon County, Kansas targeted adults willing to travel for the purpose of sexually exploiting a child. Of the 15 arrested in the Kansas City-area sting, authorities said crimes included intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, enticement of a minor, sex trafficking of a child, furnishing pornography to minors, sexual exploitation of a minor, promoting prostitution, aggravated human trafficking, sex trafficking, felony assault on a law enforcement officer, attempted statutory sodomy, and attempted second-degree statutory rape.

Comprehensive Initiative Including Reverse Stings, “Dear John” letters, Public Education, Identity Disclosure, and Neighborhood Action

On April 23, 2021, a new initiative was introduced that combats sex trafficking and prostitution in Northeast Kansas City by focusing on consumer-level demand.  The model pursued incorporates the core elements of the Nordic model: focusing law enforcement and collaborative deterrence efforts on the buyers, while viewing those “providing” commercial sex primarily as victims of sexual exploitation and providing them to support services.  The initiative leaders hope that their focus on sex buyers will affect the market for prostitution substantially, providing opportunities for those being trafficked to support and exit services, while “starving the demand for those services” in Northeast. The initiative features:

    • Posting billboards and street signs meant to deter buyers in areas known for activity
    • Online circulation of photos of sex buyers
    • Sending letters to the residence of those seen soliciting prostitution
    • Implementing reform strategies
    • Distributing cards with information and resources to business owners in high-risk areas
    • Arresting buyers while providing support and exit service to those exploited on the “supply” side.

The initiative involves a collaboration including: Christine’s Place, Relentless Pursuit Outreach and Recovery (RPOR), Alison Phillips with the Special Anti-Sex Trafficking Task Force of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, Veronica’s Voice, Northeast Alliance Together (NEAT), Jackson County Legislator Theresa Galvin, State Representative Ingrid Burnett, the Independence Avenue Community Improvement District (CID) and Northeast Chamber of Commerce, and others.

Other Sex Buyer Arrests

Some arrests and shaming of sex buyers occurs due to investigations or allegations against specific individuals, rather than proactive sting operations.  For example, in 2016, the Missouri Court of Appeals decidedly unanimously to uphold the conviction of a Kansas City police officer who prosecutors said had sex with a women in return for not arresting her for prostitution and drug charges. In April 2014, a Jackson County jury convicted the man of corruption. He was originally charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of deviant sexual assault, but the jury convicted him of one count of ‘acceding to corruption.’ According to prosecutors, Holmes had sex with a prostituted woman in a south Kansas City motel room in the spring of 2012 in exchange for not placing her under arrest. Detectives said an area motel had hired the man as an off-duty security officer to combat drugs, violence and prostitution. The 13-year veteran of the KCPD had been assigned to the South Patrol Division. The evidence presented at trial was clearly sufficient to establish that the man both solicited and knowingly accepted sex from the woman in exchange for his not arresting her for prostitution.  The man was sentenced to 15 days in county jail and a $2,500 fine.

Community Service

A local law enforcement respondent to the 2022 National Assessment Survey reported that community service for arrested sex buyers has occurred within the city. The respondent also said that city police have used males as decoy prostituted persons and arrested female sex buyers at least once.

Key Partners

  • Kansas City Police Department
  • Wyandott County Sheriff’s Office
  • Johnson County Sheriff’s Office
  • Veronica’s Voice
  • Kansas City Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation (KC CASE)
  • Kansas City Corrective Training, Inc.
  • Christine’s Place
  • Relentless Pursuit Outreach and Recovery (RPOR)
  • Missouri Attorney General’s Office
    • Special Anti-Sex Trafficking Task Force
  • Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Northeast Alliance Together (NEAT)
  • Independence Avenue Community Improvement District (CID)
  • Northeast Chamber of Commerce

Key Sources

National Assessment Survey, Interviews and Site Visit (2012)

National Assessment Survey (2022)

John School:

Reverse Stings:

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Identity Disclosure:

Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:

Neighborhood Action:


Public Education:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Missouri
Type City
Population 508394
Comments are closed.