AG Beshear, Local Advocates Ask Derby-goers to Report Suspected Cases of Human Trafficking

Demand for commercial sex services increases at major sporting events

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 3, 2016) – Attorney General Andy Beshear and local advocates are asking derby-goers to report any suspected cases of human trafficking at events surrounding the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby.

“The Derby is one of the greatest sporting events in the world and one all Kentuckians can take great pride in,” Beshear said. “But unfortunately there are individuals who use large sporting events like the Derby to traffic children and adults for sex and labor.”

Beshear said his office is committed to assisting victims and law enforcement officials who need immediate assistance in combating human trafficking, and during Derby, he is joining with local advocates to ask concerned citizens and businesses, including racetracks, bars and hotels, to report any suspected cases of human trafficking.

Beshear said signs of possible human trafficking include:

  • Fearful and reluctant to talk to outsiders
  • Inability to clarify where he/she is staying or give an address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or of what city he/she is in
  • Loss of sense of time
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
  • Has possession of multiple pre-paid credit cards
  • Does not have possession or access to his/her identification documents
  • Signs of physical abuse, such as bruises, broken bones, burns and scarring
  • Branding tattoos, which may have an image or the name of the person trafficking them

  • Beshear said the purchase of anyone’s body for sex or sexual acts is illegal, and that victims of sex and labor trafficking are often subjected to forced dependence on drugs, violence, threats, controlling behaviors, false promises, lies and manipulation perpetrated by their traffickers.

    To report suspected human trafficking of a child, call 877-KYSAFE1 or dial 911 if you believe the individual is in immediate danger.

    If an individual is being exploited for commercial sex or labor, he or she can call or text the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 for immediate assistance. Interpreters are available for callers.

    Free2Hope and Catholic Charities of Louisville joined the Attorney General to help raise awareness.

    Free2Hope trains local businesses on human trafficking. Last Saturday, the organization and its volunteers asked Louisville businesses to display posters in their stores about human trafficking during derby.

    Amy Leenerts, executive director of Free2Hope, said, “The Kentucky Derby draws thousands of people from around the country to Louisville to watch the race and enjoy all the fun activities our city has to offer; however, the Derby also brings a darker side to our city – human traffickers who sell women and children for sex in the underground sex trade. This atrocity here in Louisville will not end unless people like you and I take a stand and say, ‘Not in my city.’ The best weapon we can use to combat this epidemic is to stop it before it ever happens.”

    Marissa Castellanos, human trafficking program manager for Catholic Charities of Louisville, said, “Combating human trafficking requires collaboration between law enforcement and service providers to ensure these crimes are identified, investigated and prosecuted, while ensuring survivors are provided access to the resources and support they need to rebuild their lives. We are grateful to the Attorney General’s Office for its leadership and investment in protecting some of the most vulnerable individuals in the Commonwealth.”

    “Kentucky is facing growth in child trafficking,” Beshear said. “Human labor and sex trafficking are far more prevalent in Kentucky than most people realize. It’s the law to report any suspected case of child trafficking, so everyone has a role to play in preventing human trafficking and helping restore victims of this horrific crime.”

    Information on human trafficking can be viewed on the Attorney General’s website.

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