We have just learned that a bill on human trafficking will be filed on Wednesday, February 1st (National Freedom Day), and there will be a press conference that afternoon to announce the bill and raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking in Kentucky. The press conference will be held in the State Capitol rotunda at 1:15 p.m., and should conclude by 2 p.m.
Among other points, the bill will:
– Establish a special prosecution division within the Kentucky State Police to identify and investigate those involved in human trafficking
– Provide law enforcement with forfeiture and seizure powers for human trafficking offenders, similar to drug trafficking laws
– Establish a trust fund with portions going to the prosecution division and to the victims themselves
– Provide for increased penalties for those who would attempt to purchase children from $500 to $10,000 with those proceeds also going into a victims fund.
Kentucky WMU has been contacted about this effort by Marissa Castellanos, Human Trafficking Program Manager, of Catholic Charities of Louisville, a parter with Kentucky Rescue and Restore. We featured a speaker from Kentucky Rescue and Restore at our 2010 summer WMU training and again at our 2011 Annual Meeting. She will be at the rally along with others who are passionate about this issue.
With our WMU emphasis on Project HELP: Human Exploitation, this is an important opportunity for us to join with others in standing against human trafficking in Kentucky. Please come if you can, and also pass this information on to others you know who may be interested in attending the press conference.
If you are able to attend on Wednesday, we have been requested to:
– Arrive around 1 p.m., so that the press conference can begin promptly at 1:15 p.m.
– Wear the color teal in solidarity of the issue of human trafficking, or wear a t-shirt that mentions human trafficking/ child sexual exploitation
To help the planners of the press conference, if you plan to attend, please drop me an email: [email protected]. I will pass this information on.
Even if you are not able to attend, please pray for this bill and for all who are working together to stop human exploitation in Kentucky. Please let others know that the bill is being filed and urge support. Human trafficking is real and it is happening in our communities. Let’s join with others in this important effort.