Police arrested Scott Truett of Wichita, Kan. last month for aggravated human trafficking and sexual exploitation of a child. Police say Truett’s arrest comes from the investigation involving a Wichita runaway, found last month.
Hope Joy Zeferjohn, a Topeka, KS native, became a victim of the commercial sex trade while in state custody, ran away, and was sent to prison for aggravated human trafficking. Despite federal and state laws that bar prosecuting children for prostitution, Zeferjohn is serving a nearly six-year sentence in the Topeka Correctional Facility and will spend a lifetime on the state sex offender registry.
Long Van, 38, of Wichita, KS, was charged with aggravated human trafficking of a 15-year-old girl. Van, a registered sex offender, was already on Community Corrections for a conviction of commercial sexual exploitation of a child in 2017. A search on the teen’s phone uncovered more than 2900 messages between her and and Van in which they discussed exchanging money for sex and enlisting the teen to recruit other girls for sex.
Founder of the Stop Trafficking Project Russ Tuttle spoke at the Law Enforcement Center about social media, the online world kids are in and how it all relates to human trafficking. Tuttle said traffickers target vulnerabilities, often through games like Fortnite and Minecraft.
Antonio Flemming of Lenexa, Kan. was charged with aggravated human trafficking and commercial exploitation of a child in Johnson County. Lenexa police officer was suspicious that the adults in the vehicle were involved in human trafficking, based on her training, experience and instincts.
In February, Kansas Judge Michael Gibbens came under fire in national news for claiming that two girls, ages 13 and 14, acted as “aggressors” in a situation of exploitation in which a 67-year-old male, Eugene Soden, paid them to have sex.
In 2014, the Topeka Rescue Mission was referred to assist a total of four victims of human trafficking, says its executive director, Barry Feaker. But that total has since risen steadily to the point where the mission last year received 200 such referrals, he said Wednesday.
A Johnson County man is accused of sexually exploiting a teen in a case of human trafficking. Prosecutors in Johnson County say this is an active investigation and more arrests could be coming, but a big break came when a driver didn’t come to a complete stop at Lenexa Drive and Switzer and police started asking questions.
January is a month devoted to raising awareness of human trafficking, and Marissa Woodmansee, director of Juvenile Services for Barton County, did her part Saturday afternoon at a public informational event at the Great Bend Public Library. She shared some background on the evolution of her own human trafficking awareness, and recent developments of importance to the community, especially parents of pre-teens and teens. “It’s important to understand what human trafficking is and what it looks like,” she said. According to the website for the Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking is modern-day slavery.
The Wichita Children’s Home has opened a residence to help young victims of human trafficking. The Garver House can shelter up to 10 children who have been released from the Children’s Home Staff Secure Unit.
Years of forced prostitution and beatings. That’s the reality a human trafficking survivor shared Tuesday at the Manhattan Area Chamber’s Women in Business luncheon. The event aimed to show the impact of human trafficking on the local community.
The executive director of the Topeka Rescue Mission has orchestrated a plan to understand the extent of the sex marketplace in Shawnee County and hopes the effort will become a model for other communities. He joined other civic leaders and state officials Monday as they issued a plea for public awareness for the victims of human trafficking.