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Manhattan is a city of approximately 55,000 residents, located in northeastern Kansas’ Riley County, about 60 miles west of Topeka. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity has been reported in the community for at least ten years.
Among their efforts to curtail local sex sales, the Riley County Police Department has conducted at least two reverse stings targeting sex buyers. In 2011, a three-day online operation using Backpage.com resulted in the arrests of two prostituted persons, two for promoting prostitution, and five sex buyers. A similar two-day sting conducted in April 2012, netted 11 people– four of whom were charged with patronizing prostitution– at two local hotels. Following both stings, the names, ages, and hometowns of the arrestees were reported in the news.
In July 2018, the Kansas Attorney General announced a new awareness campaign 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 features education and announcements warning that buyers of sex face charges. The campaign intended to promote a culture in which, buying sex is not acceptable. It is based on the assumption that the money from sex buyers fuels a marketplace that enables sex trafficking.
- Riley County Police Department
Web-Based Reverse Stings, identity disclosure:
- “Prostitution Probe Results in Nine Arrests,” Topeka Capital-Journal, February 22 2011.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets Nine Arrests,” CBS/WIBW-TV 13, February 22 2011.
- “Prostitution Surprises Police,” Manhattan Mercury, February 22 2011.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 11 Arrests, Undercover Operation Targeted Activity at Two Area Hotels,” Manhattan Mercury, April 27 2012.
- “Undercover Probe Nets Prostitution Arrests,” Topeka Capital-Journal, April 27 2012.
- “Kansas Today; Manhattan; Prostitution Charges Given,” Leavenworth Times, April 28 2012.
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Police Detain Three in Prostitution Investigation,” Manhattan Mercury, April 6 2012.
- “RCPD: Teen Brought to Manhattan for Prostitution,” CBS/WIBW-TV 13, April 6 2012.
- “Runaway Girl, 2 Others Held in Prostitution,” Topeka Capital-Journal, April 6 2012.
- “Story of Woman’s Rape Illustrates Prevalence of Sex Trafficking,” Manhattan Mercury, April 28 2013.
- “Missing Girl Found in Trafficking Case,” Manhattan Mercury, November 7 2013.
- “FBI Finds 2 Teens, Arrests 7 Pimps Involved in Prostitution,” Topeka Capital-Journal, June 23 2014.
- “Manhattan Part of National Child Sex Trafficking Sting,” Manhattan Mercury, June 24 2014.
- “Federal Indictment: Topeka Couple Forced Teenage Girl into Prostitution,” Press Release, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas, May 6 2015.
- “Couple Charged with Forcing Teen into Prostitution to Be Tried Starting July 7,” Topeka Capital-Journal, June 8 2015.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Two Arrested in Manhattan Prostitution Sting,” CBS/WIBW-TV 13, July 5 2012.
- “Three Arrested in Manhattan Prostitution Bust,” CBS/WIBW-TV 13, October 4 2012.
- “Manhattan Man Who Hired Prostitute Ends up Calling Police,” ABC/KAKE-TV 10, April 24 2013.