A recent human trafficking operation in Missouri and Kansas has resulted in 82 people being arrested.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the rescue of 31 individuals following an operation that took place June 17 through the 26 in Kansas City, Missouri; Independence, Missouri; and Wichita, Kansas, KY3 reported Thursday.
Seventeen of those rescued were adults and 14 were missing children. The youngest victim was four-years-old.
“The enforcement operation resulted in the arrest of 82 individuals who will be charged with crimes related to soliciting prostitution, commercial sex trafficking, sodomy, narcotics violations, felony assault on a police officer, sex offender registry violations and outstanding warrants,” the department’s news release read.
Justice Project Kansas City Executive Director Kris Wade told KCTV the group is helping the people investigators found and wants others to be aware of the issue.
“We want people to understand that any kids are at risk,” Wade noted. “Any adults are at risk. Anyone is at risk for human trafficking.”
The group also wants the community to acknowledge the young age of some of the victims.
“The younger the victim, the more money the trafficker can make,” Wade explained.
Meanwhile, the migrant surge has increased the smuggling of children for forced labor and sexual exploitation, turning the border into a “huge market” for “child sex trafficking” Rep. Maria Salazar (R-FL) said in March.
“Human trafficking, my friends, is slavery,” Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT) explained during a briefing with reporters alongside Salazar and fellow Republicans.
He added that “30 percent of the women and girls coming through this [migration] process are going to be raped.”
“We can’t standby and let that happen. We have boys and girls as young as six or seven years old being pushed into sex trafficking,” he continued.
This week, House Republicans blamed President Joe Biden for the border crisis while inspecting the situation with former President Donald Trump, Breitbart News reported.
“Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) tweeted the ‘border cartels treat children like property. This has to end … the Biden Administration must show leadership.’ Cawthorn did not mention that the cartels also smuggle drugs into the United States, fueling the opioid crisis,” the outlet noted.