Kentucky’s hotel industry is being enlisted to help fight human trafficking, a crime that Attorney General Andy Beshear says is occurring in every community.
“Today we are giving traffickers notice that we are fighting back with a strong team who is committed to training thousands of hotel staff on how to help a victim escape and put an end to this crime," Beshear said in a press release.
Beshear announced a new partnership Tuesday that will include a training program called See Something-Say Something-Save a Life. Employees in the hotel industry will learn how to identify and report human trafficking.
Kentucky Travel Industry Association President Hank Phillips says hotel workers are often unknowingly on the front lines of the crime.
"That's one of the values of this whole initiative," Phillips told WKU Public Radio. We have to say 'Okay, it's a hateful, dreadful activity, but we have to acknowledge it,' and then we go beyond that to being part of the solution."
The state attorney general’s office has forged a similar partnership with the trucking industry.
A University of Louisville study this year found that 41 percent of homeless youth surveyed in Louisville and southern Indiana said they had been victims of human trafficking at least once.
Beshear says his office is currently prosecuting 14 human trafficking cases and assisting other law enforcement agencies with nearly a hundred complaints.