TOPEKA – (November 15, 2017) – Kansas is one of eight states to receive an “A” ranking from an international human trafficking victim advocacy group, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.
Shared Hope International, a victim advocacy group that seeks to end sex trafficking and exploitation of women and children worldwide, issues annual report cards for states through its Protected Innocence Challenge. The “grade” Kansas received from Shared Hope International for its efforts to combat human trafficking has improved to an “A” this year, with Kansas receiving 92 out of a possible 100 points for 2017.
According to Shared Hope, Kansas is the third most-improved state in the nation and one of only two states that increased four grade levels since the group’s report card began in 2011. Since Schmidt took office as attorney general, Kansas’ score has risen from an “F” to an “A.”
Combating human trafficking in Kansas has been a priority for Schmidt. While serving in the State Senate, he supported the 2005 legislation that created the first Kansas anti-human trafficking statute and proposed additional legislation in 2010. As attorney general, he proposed legislation in 2013, 2015 and 2017 that strengthened Kansas laws against human trafficking. The legislation enacted this year, Senate Bill 40, strengthened enforcement, support for child victims, anti-demand efforts, and awareness training.
“We are taking a comprehensive approach to address what is a complex crime,” said Schmidt. “The result of these efforts has been more-effective prosecution, additional training and better support for victims. One key is raising awareness of the driving force behind sex trafficking – the demand for commercial sex, most often with children. Buyers who create this demand must be held accountable for their enabling role. We will continue to work with the Legislature and other partners across the state to make a positive difference for victims in Kansas.”
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking is one of the largest and fastest-growing criminal industries in the world. It is based on recruiting, harboring and transporting people for the purpose of exploitation. Both sex trafficking and labor trafficking occur in Kansas, and both adults and children are victims.
A copy of the Shared Hope scorecard for Kansas can be found at http://bit.ly/2huIjYM.