TOPEKA – (July 9, 2018) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today announced a new statewide public awareness campaign targeting the demand for commercial sex in Kansas.
Schmidt and representatives from partnering organizations across the state held a news conference this morning announcing the Demand an End initiative. The initial partners include more than 60 representatives from law enforcement, state government and organizations that serve human trafficking victims in Kansas.
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. Kansas is one of 11 states participating in this effort supported by Street Grace, a national organization that mobilizes community resources to fight sex trafficking through awareness, education and action.
Speakers at the news conference in addition to Schmidt included Karen Countryman-Roswurm, Founding Executive Director of the Center for Combating Human Trafficking at Wichita State University; Kirk Thompson, Director of the KBI; Secretary Gina Meier Hummel, Kansas Department for Children and Families; Secretary Lana Gordon, Kansas Department of Labor; Blanche Parks, Rotary District Governor for District 5710, which includes parts of Northeast Kansas; and Barry Feaker, Executive Director of Freedom Now USA.
Sex trafficking, a modern form of slavery, is one of the largest and fastest growing criminal industries in the world. The driving force behind domestic sex trafficking is the demand for commercial sex. If nobody purchased individuals for sex, the crime of sex trafficking wouldn’t exist.
“Buyers who create the demand for commercial sex must be held accountable for their role in enabling sex trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation,” Schmidt said. “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. 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. Buying sex is not a victimless crime.”
As part of the public awareness initiative, Schmidt announced a new website with information about the effort and a petition for Kansans to sign to demand an end to sex buying. The petition will be presented to the governor and the Kansas Legislature during next year’s legislative session. Information about the red flags for human trafficking and how to report it can be found at https://ag.ks.gov/human-trafficking. To report potential human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888.
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.
Photo: Attorney General Derek Schmidt speaks about the importance of addressing the demand for commercial sex in fighting human trafficking along with (left to right) Kansas Secretary of Labor Lana Gordon, Executive Director of Freedom Now USA Barry Feaker, Founding Executive Director of the Center for Combating Human Trafficking at Wichita State University Karen Countryman-Roswurm, Rotary District 5710 Governor Blanche Parks, KBI Director Kirk Thompson and Kansas Department for Children and Families Secretary Gina Meier Hummel.