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North Kansas City is a city in Clay County, Missouri, that is an independent municipality within the Kansas City metropolitan area. Its population is approximately 4,600. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and surrounding areas of the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. For example, in October, 2017, metro area law enforcement agencies helped federal agents arrest 10 underage human traffickers and recover three minors in the Kansas City area as part of a nationwide sting. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Kansas City Division, along with other law enforcement agencies, conducted Operation Cross Country XI Oct. 12-15 in 10 cities throughout Kansas and Missouri. Those cities included Kansas City, Independence, Lee’s Summit, Riverside and North Kansas City, Mo., and Overland Park, Olathe, Junction City, Topeka and Wichita, Kan. Locally, three minors ranging in age 16- to 17-years-old were recovered and 10 people suspected of human trafficking were arrested. In June, 2022, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office launched a new task force for child sexual exploitation and human trafficking. A child exploitation investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security led to the arrests of 32 people in Kansas and Missouri. Of the 32 individuals arrested in an undercover investigation called Operation Blue Ghost, 15 were from the Independence, Clay County, and Platte County area, Homeland Security Investigations. Police and Homeland Security agents conducted the investigation from May 31 to June 2 in the Independence, Platte County and Clay County area.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. For example, in June, 2003, police announced that a prostitution sting netted 100 arrests, and had reduced the number of Internet ads for escort services. The sting began with police placing four ads in a weekly newspaper and on the Internet. Police said men who answered the ads and agreed to exchange something of value for sex acts were arrested. Among those arrested were a priest from St. Joseph, a Clay County sheriff’s deputy, the head track coach at Shawnee Mission South High School and an executive vice president of a Baptist college in Iowa. The sting focused on escort services and involved 20 law enforcement agencies in Kansas and Missouri. It was the largest local sting of its kind, according to the Kansas City PD’s vice unit. Men arrested for buying sex in North Kansas City may – when eligible – attend the “john school” program in Kansas City, MO run by Veronica’s Voice. Between 2008 and 2014, North Kansas City sent three men to the Johnz School program in Kansas City.
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 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.
Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- https://www.poynter.org/police-tout-success-of-prostitution-sting-that-led-to-100-arrests/ (2003)
- https://www.semissourian.com/story/113529.html (2003)
- https://www.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/article179609201.html (2017)
- https://www.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/article212609314.html (2018)
- https://www.kansas.com/news/local/crime/article212605004.html (2018)
- https://www.kmbc.com/clay-county-human-trafficking-task-force-works-with-nonprofit-to-find-predators-help-victims/ (2022)
- https://www.sheriffclayco.org/new-task-force-to-focus-on-human-trafficking-in-clay-county/ (2022)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://www.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/ (2022)
- https://www.kmbc.com/clay-platte-missouri-bourbon-kansas-child-sexual-exploitation-trafficking-arrests (2022)