Signs of Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking in Kentucky
Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a rapidly growing crime — a crime which often victimizes children who are missing. Kentucky’s location and major interstates make it a location conducive to the crime. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) reported that 86 percent (about 11,880) of the cases they worked with in 2015 were endangered runaways. One in five of these children were likely victims of sexual trafficking. This fact makes it critical that educators be aware of the reality of the crime. The efforts of collaborating state agencies, with schools being a primary partner, play an integral role in locating the child and potentially saving that child from a life of victimization.

Thus, we need to focus much of our attention on those key cities with more than one on/off ramp to an interstate. Cities in Kentucky such as Lexington, Louisville, Georgetown, Olive Hill, Morehead, Ashland, Frankfort, Mt. Sterling, Owingsville, Winchester, Richmond, London, and other cities with more than one on/off ramp leading to an interstate or a Parkway.

Kentucky House Bill 524 amends KRS 156.095 to require public schools to display the National Human Trafficking Reporting Hotline, which is 1-888-373-7888. The National Hotline has created hotline outreach flyers available for download. The flyer is available in 20 different languagesThe Office of Refugee Resettlement provides posters and brochures in several different languages that provide the hotline number as well as information about human trafficking

Human trafficking in Kentucky?

According to LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE News) – The human trafficking trade may seem like an international issue far away from home. But a WAVE 3 investigation found vulnerable women and children are being forced into lives of prostitution here in Kentucky.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says every minute someone will be bought, sold, or forced into slavery.

It’s even harder to think about it happening right here at home, but it is. Last week we brought you the disturbing details of what the feds are calling a multi-state human trafficking network involving Louisville. Obdulio Morales and Esthela Vasquez are accused of running brothels in metro neighborhoods.

Experts say most of the victims are vulnerable women and children. Their ages and backgrounds are different, but the horror is the same. The University of Louisville’s Department of Justice Administration recognized this as a growing secret and recently added a whole class just on human trafficking. Dr. Theresa Hayden teaches that class.

She explained about half the Kentucky cases are sex trafficking, the other half are labor. Victims are forced to work in restaurants, farms, homes, and hotels.

“It’s happening here in Louisville. It’s known as one of the hubs for trafficking because of the interstates crossing over,” Dr. Hayden said.

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is the exploitation of another individual for labor and/or commercial sex though the use of fraud, force, or coercion, making it modern day slavery. Kentucky passed the Human Trafficking Victims Rights Act in 2013, which includes the “safe harbor” component that is aimed at protecting the youngest victims from prosecution and by mandating services for their recovery.

How many children are involved in human trafficking?

Children, unfortunately, are not exempt from this heinous crime. Rescue and Restore KY, a Catholic Charities of Louisville program reported that 332 trafficking victims have been identified since 2008. A startling 60% of these victims were children. A recent University of Louisville study, Youth Experience Survey (YES): Exploring the Scope and Complexity of Sex Trafficking in a Sample of Youth Experiencing Homelessness in Kentuckiana, found that 40% of homeless youth surveyed identified with being a victim of sex trafficking. The National Human Trafficking Hotline keeps an up-to-date count of the number of tips reported in Kentucky. Given that human trafficking is often overlooked and underreported because the crime is occurring on the margins of society and behind closed doors, the numbers are assumed to be substantially higher. A human trafficking victim could be sitting in a classroom in your district at this very moment.

What are the warning signs?

We as educators have a unique opportunity to safeguard our students from trafficking but most of us have little knowledge about the subject. Recognizing a victim is difficult because many of these red flags could apply to other situations such as drug abuse or homelessness. For more information about warning signs, see the websites listed below.

How do I report suspicions of human trafficking?

Every person who works in a school system has the potential to be an advocate for child victims of human trafficking. The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published “Human Trafficking 101 for School Administrators and Staff” which can help educators identify potential trafficking victims. School personnel should then report suspected victimization. The National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888) is an anonymous reporting tool that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

According to local, state, and federal Law Enforcement Agencies gangs, drugs, violence, extortion, kidnapping, and human trafficking go hand in hand. Kentucky has a spike in all aforementioned levels of crime: rise in gangs, rise in drug addiction, and a rise in violent crime.

For More Information, click the Links below.

Anti-Human Trafficking Groups In Kentucky Recommended By Bluegrass Crime Watch Bureau

Free2Hope, Inc.

Refuge For Women

The Kristy Love Foundation Survivor House

The Well House

The Office of Child Abuse and Human Trafficking Prevention and Prosecution

Natalies Sisters


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