A new statewide campaign was launched in Kansas by state agencies and local advocacy groups to educate the public about human trafficking for prostitution, and to let buyers know they will face charges for their crimes.
The campaign is going through the Demand An End initiative that is available in all 50 states, and is introduced through the offices of state attorney generals. According to its website, “The goal is to create awareness and provide education regarding the issues and solutions to end sex trafficking by addressing the demand.”
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said on July 10, according to KCUR of Kansas, that the campaign aims to create a culture where it’s understood that buying a prostitute is unacceptable.
“The money goes somewhere,” he said. “It fuels a marketplace. That, in turn, enables traffickers and exploiters to do to human beings things that are unlawful and wrong.”
Karen Countryman-Roswurm, executive director of the Center for Combating Human Trafficking at Wichita State University, also said, according to KCUR, “The reality is right now there are people losing their lives behind bars even though they were victimized by this crime.’”
According to the campaign’s website, the economy for underground commercial sex is the second largest black market in the United States, having recently surpassed the trade of illegal firearms, and behind the drug market.
The website notes, “Research has suggested that many traffickers are switching from drugs to sex. Traffickers are attracted to the commercial sex economy by its relatively low risk and the ability to ‘recycle’ children for greater profit.”
It includes estimates from Shared Hope International that “as many as 300,000 American children are at risk of being victimized by sex trafficking, entering ‘the life’ at an average age of 12-14 years old.”
“To end the demand, we must focus on protecting children before they are exploited, raising awareness that this is really happening in our cities, as well as arresting and aggressively prosecuting the traffickers and purchasers,” it states.