Attorney general to seek harsher penalties for sex buyers

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (KSN File Photo)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt wants to fight human trafficking with stronger penalties.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Schmidt is planning to pursue legislation in the coming session. He said last week at a proclamation signing ceremony that it’s not possible to destroy the “market for illicit trafficking” without dealing with “the demand piece.”

Schmidt also says there are some gaps where Kansas law is materially softer than federal law, usually when the victim is between age 14 and 18.

Schmidt’s coming push to crack down on demand echoes the goals of the Topeka Shawnee County Human Trafficking Coalition. Topeka Rescue Mission director Barry Feaker has said the coalition is examining ways to put more teeth into penalties. One idea is to strip convicted buyers of their driver’s licenses.