While awareness of human trafficking is increasing, many still do not know how widespread and damaging the crime is, according to Allison Pate.
Pate, residential director of EmberHope Youthville, will give a human trafficking awareness presentation at Newton Public Library today, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m.
The victims of domestic sex trafficking are often minors, and Kansas is a high-risk state.
“Kansas is an originating state, which means kids from Kansas are actually being taken and trafficked, both in Kansas and in other states,” Pate said. “We’re considered one of the largest originating states in the U.S.”
Fifty-five to 65 percent of the girls in EmberHope Youthville’s Secure Care Program have been victims of trafficking. Forty to 50 percent of the girls in the nonprofit’s three other residential programs are victims.
“We have 46 kids on campus when we’re full, and these are kids from all over the state, including Harvey County,” Pate said. “We have three or four kids right now who originated from Harvey County.”
At Newton Public Library, Pate will share how EmberHope’s residential programs use trauma-informed services to help children gain coping skills and safely return to their families and communities. She will also explain what people should do if they suspect someone is being trafficked or abused, and she will describe signs and risk factors associated with human trafficking.
“You’re going to look at things that you might’ve seen before and go, ‘Oh, maybe that is not what I thought it was,’” Pate said.
Newton Public Library is located at 720 N. Oak. For more information, visit www.newtonplks.org or call 316-283-2890.