Think human trafficking doesn’t happen in the United States (or Kentucky or Indiana)? Think human trafficking victims are foreign born or poor?
Think again! Over the weekend, a Franklin County, Ky., man was arrested for human trafficking, accused of prostituting a 15-year-old girl for money. In Frankfort, the state capital, just 50 or so miles from Louisville.
Truth is, human trafficking exists in every country, including the United States. It exists nationwide – in cities, suburbs, and rural towns – even here in Louisville and Southern Indiana. It includes but isn’t restricted to sex. It can also be forced labor, or other coercive acts.
In the Frankfort case, the accused, who is only 19, used a cellphone and social media to arrange meetings with men to prostitute underage females. Thankfully, Franklin County Sheriff’s investigators and a confidential informant were able to contact with the man, who had arranged to prostitute three 15-year-old girls. Under Kentucky law, a child is unable to consent to sex if he or she is younger than 18.
“He’d tell the girls that the older the guys were, the more money they’ll make,” an official said.
Human trafficking is real. It’s dangerous, dehumanizing, cruel and abusive.
Protecting children and families isn’t just locked doors any more. Every new technology can be criminalized, so it’s more important than ever for parents to be aware of what their children are doing on social media, the sites they are visiting and conversations they are having, and to be watchful for meetings between children and online “friends” who may be more interested in exploitation than friendship.
Want to know more about what human trafficking looks like? Visit this Homeland Security Page.