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Wyandotte County is an area located in northeast Kansas with a population of roughly 165,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented within 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, 2016, a man was charged with one count of enticing a person to cross state lines to engage in prostitution. A criminal complaint alleged the case grew out of an undercover operation by the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department and the FBI to target individuals who promote prostitution and to recover victims of human trafficking. A wide range of additional crimes associated with the local sex trade have also been documented, including child sex trafficking and prostitution-related homicide, and serial killers who specifically target prostituted women have operated in the county. For example, as of 2021, there was a set of murders of six African-American women who were killed in Kansas City, Kansas decades previously, all of whom had been exploited in prostitution.
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 2010, a crackdown on underage sex trafficking resulted in two arrests of sex buyers. The state ran a sting operation using a decoy ad for child prostitution, and two men had traveled to an undisclosed location in western Wyandotte County and were arrested. Sex buyers arrested in more conventional reverse stings may be sent to the Veronica’s Voice “john school” in Kansas City, although most are not. Whether they are sentenced to the john school or offered it as a diversion option occurs at the discretion of judges.
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.
- Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office
- Kansas Attorney General’s Office
- Wyandotte District Attorney’s Office
Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:
- “Attorney General Steve Six Announces Pair of Electronic Solicitation Arrests, Renews Call for Backpage.com to Crack down on Advertising,” El Dorado Times, October 13 2010.
- “2 Men Charged in Sex Sting Connected to Adult Services Section of Backpage.com; KS AG Uses Case to Rehash Plea to Remove Section,” NBC/KSHB-TV 41, October 13 2010.
- “Sex Trafficking Ads Lead to Arrests, Ads Placed on Adult Services Classified Section of Backpage.com,” Leavenworth Times, October 14 2010.
- “Two Arrested in Connection with Website Ads,” Pittsburg Morning Sun, October 14 2010.
Sex Buyer Resigned or Fired Due to Arrest:
- https://demand-forum.org/The_Wichita_Eagle_Thu__Jun_6__1974_-1.jpg (1974)
- https://law.justia.com/cases/kansas/supreme-court/ (1981)
- https://www.kcur.org/post/new-campaign-aims-fight-human-trafficking-cutting-demand-prostitution (2018)
Background on Sex Trafficking, Prostitution in the Area:
- “Miller Files 87 Warrants,” Lawrence Journal-World, April 18 1973.
- https://law.justia.com/kansas/supreme-court/1981/47-563-1.html (1981)
- “Daughter Forced into Prostitution by Mother,” Nevada Daily Mail, August 27 1993.
- “Mom Will Pay for Pain of Girl Forced into Prostitution; Woman Receives 15 to 55 Years in Prison,” Wichita Eagle, August 28 1993.
- “Raid on KCK Massage Parlor Breaks up Prostitution Ring,” Wichita Eagle, February 13 1994.
- “Conviction Upheld for Witness in Bribery Case,” Wichita Eagle, September 3 1994.
- “Political Cloud Hangs over Wyandotte County,” Wichita Eagle, September 18 1994.
- “Strip Club Owner Gets 2-Year Term,” Lawrence Journal-World, November 17 1994.
- “The Last Straw; Neighborhood Ills Get Best of a Good Man,” Kansas City Kansan, March 28 2001.
- “New Strategies Considered in War on Prostitution,” Kansas City Kansan, May 14 2001.
- “Her Corner of the World,” Kansas City Kansan, December 31 2001.
- “UG Says No to Adult Businesses,” Kansas City Kansan, November 21 2005.
- “Man Pleads Guilty to Forcing a 14-Year-Old Girl into Criminal Sexual Activities,” Olathe News, March 19 2008.
- https://fox4kc.com/news/four-arrested-in-massage-parlor-sting/ (2012)
- “Sex Trafficking Minors in Kansas to Be Treated as Victims, Not Criminals; Officers Train to Crack down on Sex Trafficking,” NBC/KSHB-TV 41, March 7 2014.
- “Study Exposes Economics of Sex Trafficking in Cities Like Kansas City,” NBC/KSHB-TV 41, March 12 2014.
- http://kslegislature.org/committees/ctte_h_children_and_seniors_1/documents/testimony/ (2014)
- https://www.justice.gov/usao-ks/pr/kansas-city-mo-man-charged-transporting-woman-prostitution (2016)
- https://myfox28columbus.com/news/local/miami-university-professor-accused-of-trying-to-have-sex-with-teen (2018)
Local Prostitution-Related Violence:
- https://www.kcur.org/accused-of-coercing-women-into-sex-and-lies (2021)
- https://www.kansascity.com/unsolved homicide five prostituted women (2021)