Enslaved in Kansas: Sex-trafficking in Wichita

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By Hannah McKay

On August 27 of this year, a son and father were arrested in the latest sex-trafficking sting in Wichita. According to an article on KWCH 12, a 15-year-old girl was found at the residence and was identified as a run-away from a small Kansas town. Four more men and two more women from Salina, Kansas were also arrested and charged with promoting sexual relations. They all were charged with five charges of rape and aggravated human trafficking.

Even though the latest sting operation has gotten six pimps off of the streets, there are more waiting around the corner. According to the same article on KWCH 12, the Wichita police force performs a sting operation to find human traffickers once every month. However, if they had the funding and the abilities, they would perform one every week. As heartbreaking as it is that more and more reports of sex trafficking are being reported, it comes as a wakeup call for the people in Wichita and surrounding areas. Hopefully, with more people becoming aware of this ongoing problem, more can be done to protect and stop people from being sold into trafficking.

The new cases of human trafficking also shed a new light of the ongoing, and growing problem in Wichita. According to the Exploited and Missing Child Unit (EMCU), there were 29 cases of trafficking in 2014, 65 cases in 2015, and 67 cases in 2017.  With the number of cases becoming higher, it is important to keep yourself safe. Here are some general safety tips from traffickingresourcecenter.org that everyone can follow to be safe, especially with holidays quickly approaching.

Trust your own judgment. If someone or a situation makes you uncomfortable, leave and trust your gut. Make sure a trusted friend or relative knows where you are, who you are with, and when you should be back.

Have a plan in place in case you miss your check-in time or are late. Plan on who they should call and when they should call 911. Make sure you have a reliable means of communication. Charge your phone before going out.

If you feel like you are in immediate danger do not wait, call 911 right away. Although there is not a fool-proof, 100% effective way to stop sex-trafficking, becoming aware and following these simple guidelines could help keep you or a loved one safe.

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