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KY Launches Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign
By Bill Hughes
FRANKFORT - On Monday, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced a new statewide human trafficking awareness campaign, called Your Eyes Save Lives. 

The announcement was made on Human Trafficking Awareness Day, observed every year on January 11.

Heather Waters, Executive Director of the Trafficking and Abuse Prevention and Prosecution, says the campaign was funded using a $100,000 Department of Justice COPS micro-grant that Kentucky receieved in July. 

At a press conference, Cameron said, "Human trafficking is widely, widely under-reported because of lack of awareness, misidentification, and stigma. Kentucky is not immune from human trafficking."

In the 2020 reporting period, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services reported 206 trafficking incidents against a minor. Since 2007, the National Human Trafficking Hotline has received 2,829 contacts related to Kentucky. In 2019, Kentucky ranked ninth in the nation with 171 reports of human trafficking involving 215 suspected victims. 

Cameron shared a 60-second public service announcement at the event, saying they are excited about the potential positive effect on efforts to identify and stop human traffickers. 

He said, "This campaign will utilize billboards, social media, radio, and print publications across the state to provide information about the signs of trafficking and reporting mechanisms. Already, we've launched billboards in several counties focusing on regions with the highest incidences of human trafficking, like Jefferson County, the Salt River Trail and Cumberland regions." 

Human trafficking is the forced exploitation of someone for labor or sex and is a serious problem in Kentucky. Human trafficking oppresses adults and children of all races, genders, ages, occupations, and backgrounds. The widespread demographics of victims can make it difficult for them to be spotted and reported. 

Cameron also commended lawmakers for passing House Bill 2 during the 2020 legislative session. It took effect last summer and aligns state laws with federal laws so it's easier for the criminal justice system to arrest and prosecute traffickers. It also raises awareness of the problem by requiring airports, truck stops, bus stations and train stations to post signs that share the national human trafficking hotline. 

The new campaign will also create training materials for prosecutors, law enforcement officers, advocates and community leaders to provide information about the reforms in House Bill 2. 

Cameron said the bill's passage and this new campaign signals that Kentucky is "undertaking a strong and unified approach to combating human trafficking. But, as we've noted in the video and as will continue to be said today, we're in need of every Kentuckian to join us in this fight." 

The campaign stresses that anyone can help by watching for and reporting suspected human trafficking. That can be done by calling 911 (for emergencies) or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. 

A person may be subject to sex trafficking if they appear submissive, fearful, or nervous; lack control of identification documents or money; Have an inconsistent or well-rehearsed story about where they live, the relationship with the person they are with, or how they traveled to the current location; dress inappropriately for the weather, their location, or age; are in the presence of an overtly controlling or concerned friend or boyfriend/girlfriend; possess multiple hotel key cards, prepaid credit cards, or cellphones; show signs of physical, mental, or emotional abuse; seem unable to come and go as they please.

A person may be subject to labor trafficking if they appear to live at their place of employment; are transported in a group by the employer or someone who is part of the employer’s organization; experience restricted or monitored movement; don't control their identification documents; earn wages below the state’s minimum wage; are constantly indebted to the employer; show signs of physical abuse, isolation, and starvation; work long hours in poor conditions.

For more information, visit the website YourEyesSaveLives.ky.gov (click link below). 

On Monday, Cameron's office announced the recent arrest of a Carter County man on sex trafficking charges following an investigation. Fifty-seven-year-old Keith Rose allegedly offered narcotics, alcohol and money to obtain adults and children for sexual acts. 

 



On the Net:

Your Eyes Save Lives Website


Published 10:19 AM, Monday Jan. 11, 2021
Updated 07:07 AM, Tuesday Jan. 12, 2021

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