Merriam is a suburb of Kansas City with a population of roughly 11,000, situated in Johnson County. In an effort to reduce the demand for prostitution, law enforcement agencies have conducted at least one reverse sting in the community.
In December 2010, media outlets reported the arrests of 29 johns in the cities of Merriam, De Soto, and Shawnee following a sting using decoy web advertisements. Although the identities of those arrested were not publicized, the Lawrence Journal-World reported that 17 men had been picked up in Merriam, in addition to three women charged with “promoting prostitution.” The operation was said to be a collaborative effort between the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, and Shawnee, Merriam, Prairie Village and Overland Park police departments.
Since 2008, men arrested for buying sex in Merriam have – when eligible – attended the john school program in Kansas City, MO run by Veronica’s Voice. Between 2008 and 2014, Merriam sent more men to that Johnz School program than any other city except Kansas City.
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.
- Johnson County Sheriff’s Office
- Merriam Police Department
- Shawnee Police Department
- Prairie Village Police Department
- Overland Park Police Department
- Veronica’s Voice
Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- “Johnson County Authorities Arrest 39 during 4-Day Prostitution Sting,” NBC/KSHB-TV 4, December 6 2010.
- “Prostitution Sting Nabs 29 Men, Eight Women in Johnson County,” Lawrence Journal-World, December 6 2010.
- “Prairie Village Officers Take Part in Countywide Prostitution Sting,” Prairie Village Post, December 6 2010.