PNS Daily News - December 13, 2019 

Brexit wins at the polls in the U.K.; major changes come to New England immigration courts today; and more than a million acres in California have been cleared for oil and gas drilling.

2020Talks - December 13, 2013  

The House passes legislation to reign in drug prices, Sen. Bernie Sanders is on the upswing, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang plays Iowa congressional candidate J.D. Scholten - who's running against long-time incumbent Steve King - in a game of basketball.

Modern Slavery Occurs Every Day in Kentucky

Victims of human trafficking often need housing, therapy, legal and medical services on their road to recovery. (kstus16/Flickr)
Victims of human trafficking often need housing, therapy, legal and medical services on their road to recovery. (kstus16/Flickr)
January 11, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Human trafficking is considered the fastest growing crime, and advocates in Kentucky say they are more committed than ever to ending it.

Human trafficking reports to Kentucky's Cabinet for Health and Family Services increased more than 300 percent between 2013 and 2015.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says it's a crime that happens every day, in every county.

But because human trafficking occurs behind closed doors, he says better awareness and understanding are important.

"Victims of human trafficking undergo the worst trauma imaginable,” he stresses. “And we can do so much just by knowing what to look for and making a simple call when something seems strange or out of the ordinary.”

Events will be held around Kentucky Thursday for National Human Trafficking Day of Awareness.

Beshear will be in Louisville at a ribbon cutting ceremony for Free2Hope's Drop-in Center for survivors of violence, and will then deliver donations to aid survivors of human trafficking at the Kristy Love Foundation.

Marissa Castellanos, program director of Bakhita Empowerment Initiative with Catholic Charities of Louisville, says every Kentuckian has a role to play in helping victims of both sex and labor trafficking.

She says it occurs in hotels, parking lots, restaurants and other places of business.

"We can pay more attention to how the workers are treated, what are the conditions that it looks like they're working in,” she states. “And if we are just more observant and pay attention to those things around us, we might be able to identify exploitation in those businesses and make those reports."

Castellanos notes that Kentucky has some of the best laws to protect victims of sexual trafficking, but believes more needs to be done on the labor trafficking side. She says there are great needs also for victims' services.

"Each case is different and the service needs are different, but if you have a victim who needs comprehensive services – housing, therapy, immigration legal services, case management, medical needs – it becomes very expensive," she states.

Since becoming attorney general, Beshear says combating human trafficking has been a priority, and most recently he's worked with the hospitality and trucking industries to build awareness.

He adds he's most proud of the two occasions when victims were saved.

"We've made those rescues because someone recognized the signs and had the courage to make a call and it means a shot at a real life for, in both of those circumstances, a young woman," he states.

The National Human Trafficking hotline is 888-373-7888.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - KY