Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says his office will ramp up efforts in 2017 to combat human trafficking.
With assistance from the attorney general's office, 28 people were arrested this year in Kentucky, accused of forcing others into sex or labor trading. One of the arrests was in Louisville during the week of the Kentucky Derby where a 14-year-old girl was rescued.
Beshear says human trafficking is occurring in every county of the state.
"For those who don't believe that, they need to understand that there is no such thing as a child prostitute in Kentucky," Beshear told WKU Public Radio. "Those children are being trafficked. They are innocent. They are children of God, and they deserve our protection."
When the General Assembly convenes January 3, Beshear says he will support legislation to make those convicted of human trafficking register as sex offenders.
His office has also partnered with the trucking and hospitality industries which are often targeted by traffickers. Those industries will train employees on how to recognize signs of the crime.
Beshear says the attorney general's office will use a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to hire a full-time human trafficking investigator.