Human trafficking is considered the fastest growing crime, and advocates in Kentucky say they are more committed than ever to ending it. Human trafficking reports to Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services increased more than 300 percent between 2013 and 2015. Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says it’s a crime that happens every day, in every county. But because human trafficking occurs behind closed doors, he says better awareness and understanding are the key.
Events will be held around Kentucky today for National Human Trafficking Day of Awareness. Beshear will be in Louisville at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Free2Hope’s Drop-in Center for survivors of violence, and will then deliver donations to aid survivors of human trafficking at the Kristy Love Foundation.
Marissa Castellanos with the Catholic Charities of Louisville human trafficking program says every Kentuckian has a role to play in helping victims of both sex and labor trafficking. She says it occurs in hotels, parking lots, restaurants and other places of business.
Castellanos notes that Kentucky has some of the best laws to protect victims of sexual trafficking, but believes more needs to be done on the labor trafficking side. She says there are great needs also for victims’ services.
Since becoming attorney general, Beshear says combating human trafficking has been a priority, and most recently he’s worked with the hospitality and trucking industries to build awareness. He adds he’s most proud of the two occasions when they rescued victims.
The National Human Trafficking hotline is 888-373-7888.