KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Hotels in and around downtown Kansas City will start filling up this week with people here for the Big 12 Conference men's basketball tournament.
It starts Wednesday, and a local group is preparing for it in a way you might not expect.
The non-profit Rended Heart is preparing to go door-to-door at businesses around the Sprint Center and near some of the big hotels and downtown hot spots. They want to teach people to notice signs of human trafficking and encourage them to call police about it.
Human trafficking and prostitution goes hand-in-hand with big sporting events, just because the traffickers know that there are lot of extra people in town partying.
Rended helps sexually exploited victims escape that life and get into long-term restoration programs.
They say they’ll be monitoring the online ads for call girls and escorts as well as looking for signs of prostitution and human trafficking on the streets of downtown.
"There’s a lot of opportunity for the college students to get mixed up in the drinking and the partying and that kind of fuels the pimps to bring women as an escort, kind of situation. And bring them into the area and even put ... I’ve seen is having where they put ads on peoples cars while they’re in the stadium," Rended founder Denise Lester said.
The FBI often does human trafficking operations during big sporting events. For example, during the Super Bowl in Atlanta this year, they arrested 169 people for sex trafficking, including the traffickers themselves and people who solicited sex from minors. They also identified 18 victims, including minors as young as 14 years old.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is 888-373-7888. You can call for help for yourself or anyone you may know who might be a victim.
Click here for a list of potential red flags and indicators of human trafficking to help you recognize the signs.