Kansas City: A Human Trafficking Hot Spot

In 2018, Polaris identified 14,749 survivors of sex trafficking, and they are confident that this number is underreported. Sex trafficking occurs every single day throughout the world, but Kansas City is a particularly traffic-heavy area due to its central location and easy access to major freeways. How is something this huge looked over, and how can we fix it?

It’s heartbreaking how little we know about this epidemic. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, sex trafficking is the #1 type of human trafficking in Missouri, with 137 out of 178 reported cases in 2018. Females make up between 95-98% of the total sex trafficking population and worse, 50% of those women are minors. Here are some helpful local resources that can inform everyone and hopefully save lives. 

There are several organizations in the Kansas City area that are meant to help women escape from a life of prostitution. Some of these include Veronica’s Voice, Cornerstones of Care and Justice Project KC. Veronica’s Voice provides a safe space for victims of prostitution. In 2016, Veronica’s Voice created a home for survivors to live in while they heal called Magdalene KC. Cornerstones of Care provide support for families going through difficult situations. Their services include educational support, counseling, substance abuse treatment, foster care and family therapy among other services. They also offer community classes on how to spot victims of human trafficking and abuse. The Justice Project of Kansas City helps women in poverty overcome “homelessness, prostitution, sexual exploitation, discrimination, mental illness and domestic violence.” The Justice Project KC works with St. James Parish in Kansas City to offer women a free meal and legal resources in their Willow Tree Room located on 3936 Troost KCMO. 

Since the average age that girls get trapped is 12-13, Restoration House KC is working on implementing a program for minors. Right now, they are completing the construction of a farm about 30 miles outside of Kansas City that will offer long-term housing with rehabilitation services, particularly different types of therapy. They will offer group therapy, recovery therapy, empowerment counseling and health and wellness therapy.

Rended Heart focuses more specifically on immediate, short-term care to help individuals prepare for long-term accommodations. Their 30-day program offers therapy, housing and other services. They help survivors with replacing lost IDs, medical and dental care, assistance with job applications, transportation, court appearances and more. 

Some of the signs that someone is involved in sex trafficking, according to the BIG Search KC, are marks of physical abuse, frequent absences from school, flaunting money, having a significantly older boyfriend and running away from home. 

Without help from community members, these local organizations cannot keep providing resources to those in need. It is also important to raise awareness of the problems that are not only happening across the world but in our Kansas City community. If you are interested in giving back to the organizations mentioned in this article, here are the donation links for Veronica’s Voice, Cornerstones of Care, Justice Project KC and Rended Heart. Veronica’s Voice also has an Amazon wishlist of items they need to help survivors and their organization thrive. 

For additional information on sex trafficking in the United States, check out the documentary “I Am Jane Doe” which is available on Netflix. You can also download these apps to learn how to rescue victims. If you suspect someone is involved in human trafficking, you can call the following hotlines.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: 1 (866) 347-2423

National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888

Or Text “Help” or “Info” to 233733.