LANSING, Kan. -- Human sex trafficking is a very real problem -- one that happens here at home. This week's Reaching 4 Excellence young achiever is on a mission to raise awareness, one speech at a time.
"He took her to a strip club, and at that strip club he told her 'you are going to do this all night and that's just how it's going to be.' She tried to leave and that's when he decided that he was going to rape her himself, and have a bunch of other people in the strip club do it," Phoebe Taylor said of an anonymous rape victim's story that shook her to the core.
She's tackling a tough topic, one that's being brought to the spotlight by the 17-year-old. The Lansing High School senior has a passion for victims of sex crimes.
She received the Girl Scout Gold Award -- the equivalent of the Eagle award in Boy Scouts -- for her research and presentations centered on trafficking.
"If we can do anything to stop it, we might as well," she said.
"It is such a huge need to get the word out about human trafficking, all sorts of human trafficking and for someone her age to have such a passion for that, it's really inspiring," Terri Wojtalewicz, Library Director and Lansing Community Library, said.
Wojtalewicz was Phoebe's adviser during her project.
"I don't know too many girls who take on such a huge, weighted topic," she said.
Phoebe's mission has commanded the attention of lots of folks in her community. The mayor and police chief showed her support at one of her presentations. She's also made her voice heard at local "Girls Night Out" events.
"'Girls Night Out' is a charity for domestic violence, so human trafficking had a great correlation with it," she said.
At this event, she connected Senator Steve Fitzgerald -- who is vocal about his passion for helping victims of sex crimes. If you feel you are a victim, help is available.
"You won't get prosecuted for it, they will look at you as a victim and they'll help you set up a new life for yourself," Phoebe said.