Kansas City, MO - It's in the news, on our social media pages and on the streets of our city. Just this last week, 24 people in Independence Missouri were arrested with connections to human trafficking. Geoffrey Arbuckle, President of Restoration House of Greater Kansas City, says it is more of a problem, but we've also gotten better at talking about it.
"The public simply wants something done about it, and you've seen greater attention being given to it from law enforcement and a lot of other agencies," explains Arbuckle.
Kansas City is considered high risk because of the geographical location, central in the United States, and easy highway access in the transportation of human victims.
He says the majority of trafficking happens online. Traffickers hire young men, who may or may not know who they're working for, to lure vulnerable girls, using a picture or video against them to get what they want.
Traffickers aren't the scourge of our society, according to Arbuckle, "They're smart educated individuals with a criminal mind that prey upon woman and young girls because they're very good at identifying vulnerabilities. They will cultivate a woman or a young lady for months. We have seen traffickers that have pretended to be a boyfriend or a significant partner in their life for up to a year."
He says the numbers are upwards of 40 million enslaved in human trafficking across the country. That breaks down to about 80 thousand per state, and half of those are minors. Arbuckle says it's likely your kids are going to school with girls who are being trafficked.