FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky legislature is tackling human trafficking.
House Majority Caucus Whip Suzanne Miles, R-Owensboro, presented House Bill 2 Wednesday, it’s a multi-pronged bill that aims at tackling the issue on several issues.
First, it requires signs with the Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline number be displayed at any transportation hub, including airports, bus and truck stops. Next, it removes loopholes in current law including requiring people charged with human trafficking register as sex offenders, currently offenders only have to register if they are caught trafficking someone under 18 years old.
The measure also puts in more regulations to how the human trafficking victim fund can be used. The fund was established to help out victims of trafficking after being rescued. Miles says it’s hard to tell how many people are being trafficked in Kentucky.
“It’s the same way with every avenue that you run into whenever you start investigating things like this and when we started working with the attorney general’s office to start finding out what kinds of things are taking place.,” she said. “This past week there was an arrest in Louisville, where I think 7 people were arrested for human trafficking. I think it’s more prevalent than you realize and I think we have some victims out there that don’t even realize they are a victim of this process.”
The bill also provides law enforcement and prosecutors more support working human trafficking cases by taking away a defense in statute that allows offenders caught by using an undercover officer. Currently, those offenders are able to use a defense that the intended victim is not really a minor. The language is changed to be based on the intent to knowingly take advantage of a minor.
The measure passed the House Judiciary Committee unanimously and now heads to the House floor.
The Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline number is 1 (888) 373-7888.