Human trafficking becoming a big problem in Kansas

WICHITA, Kansas – Sex and human trafficking is becoming a big problem in Kansas.

Police say the number of victims almost tripled in just one year’s time from 11 in 2012 to 29 last year.

On Monday, a panel discussion is being held at Wichita State University to discuss human sex trafficking in Kansas.

“We’re not talking about young girls and young boys, who are perpetrators or who are juvenile delinquents, but they’re victims of a crime perpetrated against them,” said Karen Countryman-Roswurm, WSU Center to Combat Human Trafficking.

New legislation took effect January 1st that makes major strides to combat human sex trafficking, and experts say it couldn’t have come soon enough.

Police say there were 29 victims of human trafficking in 2013 compared to just 11 in 2012.

Lt. Jeff Weible with the Exploited and Missing Child Unit says the jump in numbers is actually a good thing and Karen Countryman-Roswurm agrees.

“I don’t believe that that means there are truly more cases. I think that we’re seeing more cases as people are aware of what to look for in sex trafficking,” said Countryman-Roswurm.

Lt. Weibe says this is an issue that the entire community must be aware of to help combat.

If you see anything that seems strange or unusual, make a phone call whether you think it might be a case of child abuse or exploitation and watch out for potential runaways.

“That population is at the greatest risk for becoming sex trafficked.”

Tips can be given to 911 or the Department for Children and Families.

That way authorities can investigate, and potentially save a child from sex trafficking.

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