TOPEKA (KSNT) — Human trafficking is a growing problem in the United States and in Kansas.
It’s also happening right here in the capital city.
Women, men and children as young as 15-years-old sold for sex.
“That’s part of the game. That it can appear to be their decision. A choice that they made to run off with some guy,” says a woman who wishes not to be identified.
For safety purposes we decided to not name the identity of this woman. As she works on the streets with these victims, trying to get them to change their lifestyles.
“It’s really hard to walk away from the bonding and the attachment that occurs.”
Those that work with victims say these women often get the feeling of being accepted from what victims call their pimp, daddy, wife or trafficker.
Experts say most of the time the first interaction happens online. Coming from sites like social media and classified add sites.
Then meeting at a location where people wouldn’t suspect them of being up to no good.
Places like abandon houses, motels, and truck stops to name a few.
Vicky Luttrell with the YWCA says human trafficking isn’t just growing, but people are more prevalent to recognize its signs.
“A young adult that is accompanied by people who don’t seem to belong with them. If they seem nervous or scared,” says Luttrell.
In Kansas there were 52 cases reported in 2014. This year so far 14 cases.
In recent months there has been at least three arrest made in Topeka.
In July, Dominique Tyson was sentenced to 14 years in jail for selling a 15-year-old girl for sex.
In May, Reginald Newman, and his wife Tiara Newman were indicted for forcing a teenage girl into prostitution.
“As the community gets more educated we will see the numbers rise,” Luttrell says.
The state’s Attorney General’s office is working with agencies to education people about what they call a hidden issue.
If you are a victim of human trafficking, or know a victim there are resources that can help you.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center 1 (888) 373-7888
Topeka’s Alden’s House 1 (970) 325 – 2267
YWCA Center for Safety & Empowerment 1(888) 822-2983 24-hour helpline