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Platte County covers an area in western Missouri, just north of Kansas City, and has a population of roughly 109,000. Sex trafficking and prostitution are well documented problems locally, and generate a wide range of additional crimes. In an effort to reduce their prevalence and impact, local authorities have engaged in efforts to attack their root cause: consumer level demand for commercial sex.
The Sheriff’s Office has conducted reverse stings in an effort to address local problems with prostitution. One operation occurred in July 2003, and was a large-scale reverse sting covering Platte County and other areas in the greater Kansas City areas of Kansas and Missouri, and resulted in over 100 arrests. In Platte County, 17 arrested sex buyers faced charges of misdemeanor patronizing prostitution. The operation was web-and print media based, where deputies placed decoy ads in a weekly newspaper and on the web. One of the arrestees was required by the court to have STD testing and to obtain counseling and perform 40 hours of community service.
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.
Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred within the county. For example, in 2013 the principal of Platte County High School resigned his position after being arrested in a Kansas City, Missouri, prostitution sting. The man was arrested after he allegedly responded to an online ad to meet up with a prostituted woman at a Northland motel. Kansas City Missouri police said that they placed the ad as part of a sting operation, and that the principal agreed to pay an undercover female detective posing as a prostituted person $150 for sex acts.
- Platte County Sheriff’s Office
- http://www2.ljworld.com/priest_deputy_among arrested/ (2003)
- http://news.google.com/newspapers (2003)
- http://www.plattecountylandmark.com/Article (2003)
- “Police Charge 18 People in KC Prostitution Sting”, Southeast Missourian, July 5 2003.
- “Priest, Deputy Among 18 Charged in Prostitution Sting”, Lawrence Journal-World, July 5 2003.
- https://www.kmbc.com/independence-kansas-city-clay-platte-missouri-bourbon-kansas-child-sexual-exploitation-trafficking (2022)
Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned Due to Arrest:
- http://fox4kc.com/platte-county-hs-principal-resigns-after-prostitution-sting-bust/ (2013)
- http://www.kctv5.com/platte-county-high-school-principal-resigns-after-prostitution-bust (2013)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: