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Combating human trafficking, Kentucky’s attorney general makes local stop

By SYLVIA HORLANDER
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Thursday, July 13, 2017 — Kentucky’s top lawyer came to Bardstown Wednesday afternoon. Attorney General Andy Beshear was on the campus of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Crimmins Hall to talk about human trafficking. Beshear was invited by the Human Trafficking Task Force of Nelson County.

ANDY BESHEAR

Beshear said human trafficking represents the worst form of abuse.

“We work every day to seek justice for victims, both because the traffickers need to be held responsible, and for the victims who have had untold amounts of trauma perpetrated against them need our help,” he said.

Beshear said victims of human trafficking are often the most marginalized in society—those who are abused, homeless, runaways, refugees or immigrants.

As Attorney General, he often hears people denying that human trafficking doesn’t happen in local communities.

“It occurs in every county, city and community in this state, and is increasing all over Kentucky,” he said. And he is taking action to combat it.

Besides pushing legislation that can help to better protect victims, such as “Truckers Against Trafficking,” Beshear is offering training in recognizing human trafficking across the state, from rural Kentucky to suburbia. The training begins July 17 in Lexington, and will continue later this month through August in Paducah, Marshall County and Louisville.

The “Truckers Against Trafficking” program is endorsed by the Kentucky Truckers Association, and would require 30 minutes of training on recognizing human trafficking and a wallet card with the number to report the crime.

Beshear cited shocking examples of human trafficking, including a foster parent selling his foster daughter’s body for furniture, and parents trying to pimp their young children out in front of a movie theater.

“In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, there is no such thing as a child prostitute. That child is being trafficked,” he said.

Beshear added that a district judge in northern Kentucky was recently prosecuted on multiple counts of the crime. Across the state, Beshear says the need is still there for awareness.

“We want to make sure that no trafficker can hide and that every community has the proper tools to be safe and free of human trafficking.”

Throughout the last year, Beshear has established the Kentucky Attorney General’s office as the leading agency in fighting human trafficking. In fact, his office has the state’s only full-time human trafficking investigator.

In 2016, Beshear’s office arrested more online child predators than any year in the history of the office, totaling near 80 arrests, indictments, and convictions across the Commonwealth.
His office is currently working 14 human trafficking cases and has assisted law enforcement in an effort to resolve 96 other human trafficking complaints.

When asked if he’d follow in his father’s footsteps, former Governor Steve Beshear, about a run for governor, Beshear chuckled and said he’s working as hard as he can as Kentucky’s Attorney General.

“I love being Kentucky’s Attorney General, and until whatever time I have to make a decision for the future, I’m going to work every single minute I can to protect Kentucky families.”

Throughout the Commonwealth, more than 1,500 individuals have been trained to recognize human trafficking. In addition, partnerships have been made with The Kentucky Baptist Convention, The Kentucky Hotel Association, Kentucky Truckers Association and United Parcel Service.

To learn more about human trafficking and efforts to fight it, contact the Attorney General’s Office of Child Abuse and Human Trafficking Prevention and Prosecution at (502) 696-5300. The national human trafficking hotline number is 888-373-7888.

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