TOPEKA – Governor Jeff Colyer today proclaimed January to be Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Kansas.
In a ceremonial signing in the governor’s office, Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann was joined by Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Secretary of Corrections Joe Norwood. Representatives from the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) also were in attendance.
Human trafficking is one of the largest and fastest-growing criminal industries in the world. It is based on recruiting, harboring and transporting people for the purpose of exploitation. Both sex trafficking and labor trafficking occur in Kansas and both adults and children are victims. Kansas’ location and interstate system make it a major transportation area for victims of human trafficking.
“As part of ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking, we need to address what drives the demand for trafficking victims – the money spent by those who buy sex,” Schmidt said. “Focusing on discouraging the demand for commercial sex acts is our current priority. Our goal is to foster a culture in Kansas in which the buying and selling of human beings for another’s sexual gratification is not acceptable.”
Schmidt said the public can assist by reporting suspicious activity to the national hotline at 888-3737-888 or to local law enforcement in an emergency situation.
“The watchful eyes of Kansas citizens can help protect those who are vulnerable from this crime against human dignity,” he said.
In July, Schmidt and representatives from more than 60 partnering organizations across the state launched the Demand an End initiative, which targets the buyers of commercial sex who create the demand for sex trafficking. Demand an End is a sex trafficking-specific public awareness campaign driven by a demand-focused approach and designed to complement and build upon legislative initiatives to deter buyers and reduce the demand for commercial sex.
To sign the petition to Demand an End to sex buying, visit http://DemandAnEnd.KS.gov
. A list of partnering organizations can also be found at the link provided.
The governor along with the attorney general’s office, DCF, KDHE, KDOC and KDOL are working together to educate Kansans about the presence of human trafficking, what to look for and how to report suspected human trafficking. Educational information is provided on the agencies’ websites.