Metro Men Aim to End Sex Trafficking
LENEXA, Kan. — The numbers are hard to pin down because victims of sex trafficking are moved around so much, but authorities here in the metro say that the crime against women and children is happening in a big way.
In the wake of several stings over the past several months that have netted dozens of victims, their pimps and the men who tried to buy their services, an unlikely group of men came together on Saturday in Johnson County to help fight back against sex trafficking.
Just Men KC is a group of nearly 400 men who say that they are dedicated to the idea that men created the demand for prostitution, and better men are going to have to do something to end it.
“Throughout history, the man has been the protector of the child, the protector of the women and children in our community,” said Schaun Colin of Just Men KC. “For some reason now all of a sudden men are buying and selling our kids for sex and we just go, its unacceptable.”
Detectives for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department told the assembled men on Saturday that the problem of sex trafficking is widespread across the area. Social media is making the victims harder to find, and those who sell them tougher to find.
But authorities say that undercover stings do seem to be working.
“We ran an operation the latter part of May,” said Lt. Mike Pfannenstiel of the JOCO Sheriff’s Department. “During that time we arrested 29 people – half were prostitutes and half were people who patronize prostitutes.”
According to the FBI estimates, there are roughly 100,000 victims of child prostitution in America – nearly 1,600 in Kansas City alone.
“In the end you can tell what a culture wants by what is for sale,” said Tom Perez of the Epik Project, which aims to stop sex trafficking. “Our belief is that there has to be at least 100,000 men who would stand up and say we are gonna fight this, we are gonna change the culture that is making victims out of kids. So our goal is 100,000 men nationally.”