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Increase in Human Trafficking Predicted Ahead of Kentucky Derby Weekend

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Free2Hope, Facebook
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This Saturday’s Kentucky Derby will pump millions of dollars into the Louisville-area economy. But it will also bring an increase in the number of sexually exploited women and children.

That’s the warning from Amy Leenarts, the director of the Louisville-based anti-trafficking group “Free 2 Hope”. “There is a syndicate that runs across the country, and they just simply go to all these big events all over the country, and they bring people with them—girls who are enslaved," Leenarts says.

Leenarts says traffickers use coercion and force to lure victims into sex work.

She’s asking the public to be on the lookout for signs of abuse, “It can be a child at a hotel where they shouldn’t be, when they’re obviously not with parents. It can be a young adult who has several different phones, or key cards from multiple hotels.”

Advocates are helping hotel workers and emergency medical services providers identify and report cases of human trafficking. Suspected cases of human trafficking can be reported by calling 8-7-7…K-Y…SAFE-1, or 9-1-1 if someone is in immediate danger.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition. He is a broadcast journalism graduate of WKU, and has won numerous awards for his reporting and feature production. Kevin grew up in Radcliff, Kentucky and currently lives in Glasgow.
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