TOPEKA, Kan. (CAPITOL BUREAU) – Governor Sam Brownback declared January as is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
“It is a real and substantial problem in Kansas, and we believe our geography contributes to that at the center of the country with major interstates traveling through,” said Attorney General Derek Schmidt at a proclamation signing last week.
Schmidt added the state is working to crack down on the trafficking, mainly through education.
“We’re on the front end of the process training every commercial driver license holder in the state, in the signs of trafficking, what to look for, what to see, what to do when you spot it.”
The Attorney General’s office says trafficking victims can range in age and gender.
“The average age of entry into sex trafficking is between the ages of 12 and 14, but we also see young women and young men,” explained Jennifer Montgomery with the Attorney General’s Office.
“It breaks your heart, one victim’s story is enough to make you want to do something,” said Barry Feaker, with Restore Hope.
Feaker helps trafficking victims get out of the life, however he says leaving it behind can be challenging.
“We don’t yet have the systems in place to replace what they’re losing. So they’re losing the shelter, sometimes security, the food,” Feaker said.
The Attorney General’s office says while the state has made strides to cut down on trafficking, there is still more work to be done.
“We could be a bit more robust in parts of the states with respect to the online solicitation and I’m hopeful that’s an area we’ll be able to make some progress over the coming months or this next legislative session,” said Schmidt.
For more information on Human Trafficking and the signs, click here.