A human trafficking bust conducted last month by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) resulted in at least 31 rescued victims and 82 individuals arrested for various sex crimes.
Of the 31 victims, 14 were missing children, with the youngest child being four years old. The other 17 were adults, a press release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement states.
The operation took place over nine days between June 17-26, 2021 in Wichita, Kansas, Independence, Missouri, and Kansas City, Missouri.
HSI Special Agent in Charge, Kansas City, James Wright announced that the 82 individuals arrested will be charged with various crimes such as soliciting prostitution, commercial sex trafficking, sodomy, narcotics violations, felony assault on a police officer, sex offender registry violations, and outstanding warrants.
Justice Project Kansas City Executive Director Kris Wade told KCTV they want to spread awareness that anyone can become a victim of human trafficking.
“We want people to understand that any kids are at risk,” Wade warned. “Any adults are at risk. Anyone is at risk for human trafficking.”
He also explained to the community that younger people are more at risk of being trafficked.
“The younger the victim, the more money the trafficker can make,” Wade said.
The operation was a combined effort between several state and federal agencies including:
- HSI Kansas City
- HSI Wichita
- Wichita Police Department
- Kansas Bureau of Investigation
- Kansas Highway Patrol
- Health and Human Services
- United States Marshal’s Service
- Platte County Sheriff’s Office
- Independence Police Department
- Jackson County Sheriff’s Department
- Missouri State Highway Patrol
- Bourbon County Sheriff’s Office
- Hutchinson Police Department