Overland Park is a mid-sized city of about 170,000, situated in Johnson County in the southwestern suburbs of Kansas City, Kansas. Prostitution and sex trafficking (of both adults and minors) have been reported in the community for several years. Law enforcement report that complaints from residents have at times led to crackdowns on commercial sex activity.
In their efforts to reduce prostitution, the Overland Park Police Department has conducted at least four web-based reverse stings to identify and arrest sex buyers. Johns are intercepted after responding to a decoy advertisement suggesting prostitution and communicating with an undercover officer posing as a woman offering sex acts for money. Following their arrests, johns’ identities have at times been publicized in press.
Men arrested for buying sex in Overland Park have – when eligible – attended the john school program in Kansas City, MO run by Veronica’s Voice. Between 2008 and 2014, the city had sent 26 men to the Johnz School program in 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.
- Overland Park Police Department
- Johnson County Sheriff’s Office
- Veronica’s Voice
- John Arrests (Unclear if “Traditional” Reverse Stings Tactics Used):
- Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- “Overland Park Police Make 15 Prostitution Arrests,” FOX/WDAF-TV 4, February 20 2012.
- “Police Cracking down on Prostitution in Johnson County,” CBS/KCTV-TV 5, September 11 2012.
- “Overland Park Police Tout Prostitution Bust,” FOX/WDAF-TV 4, October 30 2012.
- “OP Police Take Prostitution Stings Seriously,” FOX/WDAF-TV 4, February 18 2013.
- John School:
- Public Education:
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Prostitution Investigation Leads to Arrests; 4 Charged in Connection with Bringing Women from China to K.C. Area,” Lawrence Journal-World, May 12 2007.
- “Judge Detains Three Charged with Transporting Prostitutes,” Nevada Daily Mail, May 15 2007.
- “Kansas City Suburb Closes Four of Raided Massage Parlors,” Nevada Daily Mail, July 8 2007.
- “Massage Parlor Owner Admits Sex Trafficking,” Independence Examiner, December 20 2008.
- “Sex Slavery: Living the American Nightmare,” NBC News, December 22 2008.
- “Man Gets 22-Year Sentence for Sex Trafficking,” Kansas City Metro, October 6 2010.
- “Overland Park Prostitution Sting Results in Discovery of Juveniles Involved in Sex Trafficking,” Blog, Overland Park Police Department, October 14 2010.
- “Prosecutor Shares Tactics for Fighting Sex Trafficking in Kansas,” Wichita Eagle, August 30 2011.
- “Johnson Co. Prostitution Ring Nets 40 Arrests,” FOX/WDAF-TV 4, May 21 2012.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Woman Sentenced for Running Prostitution Ring from Her Condo,” Hutchinson News, February 27 1989.
- “Johnson County Police Crackdown on Prostitutes,” NBC/KSHB-TV 41, February 4 2011.