Homeland Security defines human trafficking, as using force, fraud or coercion to exploit labor or sex using violence, manipulation or false promises. In 2017, there were 4,460 cases of human trafficking in the United States reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Servies will host a training from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sept. 6 at Owensboro Community and Technical College’s Blandford Hall where attendees will learn the indicators of human trafficking and how it is affecting the community.
Karla Ward executive director at New Beginnings said she thinks the training is important for the community to realize that it’s not just larger cities where human trafficking is happening or at large events like the Kentucky Derby.
According to the Department of Education’s website, “human trafficking is a rapidly growing crime — a crime which often victimizes children who are missing. Kentucky’s location and major interstates make it a location conducive to the crime.”
Recognizing a victim is often difficult because many of the recognized warning signs could apply to other situations affecting the individual such as drug abuse or homelessness. That’s why Ward said the training is important to recognize who is at risk for human trafficking.
“Runaways, homeless youth, and those who have a history of trauma are more vulnerable than most,” Ward said. “The opioid epidemic has also had an impact with some parents who are trafficking their children in exchange for drugs.”
Ward said most people think of human trafficking in the sense that people are kidnapped against their will.
“The reality is it is more of a coercive and psychological control the person has over the individual where they can easily manipulate them,” she said.
Susan Montalvo-Gesser with the Diocese of Owensboro will speak with a local perspective on the issue. Marissa Castellanos with Catholic Charities in Louisville and Allyson Taylor with the Attorney General’s office will present on the state statistics and the statewide task force on human trafficking.
The training is free but only 300 spots are available. To register for the event, call 270-926-7273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.