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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Seminar focuses on human trafficking

  • People may think state or national borders have to be crossed in order for human trafficking to take place. But victims can trafficked within a city.
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  • People may think state or national borders have to be crossed in order for human trafficking to take place. But victims can trafficked within a city.
    That's according to Britanny Vanderhoof, a policy associate with Polaris Project, a national anti-human trafficking organization.
    Vanderhoof was one of the speakers at Thursday's "Eyes Open Against Human Trafficking" seminar. The event was sponsored by the Leavenworth County Child Abuse Prevention Council and Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.
    "It happens everywhere," Vanderhoof said of human trafficking.
    She said a national hotline operated by Polaris Project has received calls from Kansas.
    Vanderhoof said she provided an overview of the issue of human trafficking during Thursday's seminar.
    She said another misconception is that human trafficking in the United States involves only illegal immigrants. But she said U.S. citizens are vulnerable as well as foreign nationals who are in the country legally.
    The one-day seminar, which was held at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, was attended by more than 70 people including members of law enforcement and representatives of various agencies, according to Karen Curto, one of the organizers of the event.
    Curto said human trafficking was the focus of a seminar two years ago in Leavenworth, and it was felt that a follow-up was appropriate.
    One of the other speakers at Thursday's seminar was Kristy Childs, founder and executive director of Veronica's Voice, an organization that helps victims of sexual exploitation.
    Childs said there's a misconception that prostitution isn't sex trafficking, but it is. She said she spoke about the realities of the issue during the seminar.
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