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Forced Sex and Labor Trafficking Focus of Kentucky Awareness Efforts


Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is focusing attention on identifying and prosecuting those who take part in human trafficking. The attorney general joined industry and religious groups in Frankfort on Jan. 11 as part of the national Human Trafficking Awareness Day. The effort is to make people aware that men, women and children across the U.S., including some in Kentucky, are victims of forced sex and forced labor. 

From January through October of 2016, the National Human Trafficking Hotline got 261 calls from Kentucky. Of those, 56 cases of sex trafficking and 10 cases of forced labor trafficking were documented. Two cases were a combination of sex and labor trafficking, such as being forced to dance in a strip club and also forced to engage in commercial sex.

Vanessa Chauhan is based in Frankfort and works with the national organization Polaris, which operates the hotline.

“We’ve seen young teenagers who may have just run away from home. We have seen adult women. We’ve seen elderly women,” said Chauhan.

Many of the calls were from people asking for information, some were from law enforcement and others from groups working to end domestic violence.

Since the hotline began in 2007, through October 2016, 24 calls came in from Hardin County, 10 were from Warren County, six from Barren County and five from Daviess County.

Groups taking part in the human trafficking awareness efforts include Truckers Against Trafficking, the Kentucky Hotel and Travel Industry, Catholic Charities of Louisville and the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Rhonda Miller joined WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.
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