KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City is cracking down on pimps. Up until now, city ordinances didn't say promoting prostitution was a crime. For more than 40 years a Kansas City, Mo., ordinance let the city bust prostitutes and johns, but pimps were essentially off the hook. Not anymore as two weeks ago the city made it illegal to promote prostitution, cracking down on those they say profit the most from the trafficking of humans.
"It keeps women objectified and looked upon as unequal," said Kristy Childs, the founder of Veronica's Voice, an organization that provides help to women and children in the sex trafficking business.
"It's basically a quality of life issue," said KCMO City Council Member and Gateway Crime Task Force member Scott Wagner.
As of October 18, promoting the world's oldest profession is prosecutable and punishable. Pimping is now on the books.
"Obviously when you've got people who are using women and are promoting this for the johns to come, it's a bad problem for our neighborhoods," said Wagner.
"Pimps can be very violent," Childs said.
The promotion of prostitution joins prostitution itself, along with the patronizing of prostitutes as an illegal activity, by city ordinance.
"We know these women all around our country are targeted by serial killers," Child said. "They are assaulted on a daily basis, and so that way we can get to these criminals that are perpetrating these violent crimes against women in our community much quicker and put a stop to that."
Childs is also a former prostituted woman herself, forced into the business at just 12 years old. She said this addition to the ordinance is long overdue.
"I think it's wrong to sell people, and I think it's wrong to buy people, equally," she said.
She also said pimping is just the smallest part of this trade and cracking down on it instead of getting tougher on the johns who patronize them won't change the streets.
"We could put pimps out of business if we demanded that the demand stop, and if we had harsher penalties, then pimps wouldn't be able to pimp," Childs said.
The city said it's a start. The fine for pimping, prostituting or patronizing has also been upped from $500 to $1000. At most, a person could spend six months in jail if convicted of any of these crimes on the city level.