LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — During Derby time, money changes hands at a furiously fast pace, and a lot of it has nothing to do with betting at the track.
In fact, odds are, human trafficking will merge with traffic coming to Louisville before, during and after “The Run For The Roses.”
At that time last year, the Louisville Metro Police Department made 22% of their prostitution arrests for all of 2016, and two of the arrests were for human trafficking.
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) says a police sting last year rescued a 14-year-old girl from sex trafficking.
“There’s no such thing as a child prostitute,” Beshear pointed out. “That child is a victim of human trafficking who needs our help.”
The AG’s office recently added a dedicated human trafficking investigator to its staff.
“He is so busy that we are internally dedicating other resources to human trafficking cases,” Beshear said.
Helping to save kids from sex trafficking, as well as adults, is Angela Renfro. Now 48, Renfro says she was manipulated and forced to turn tricks starting at age 9. She hopes sharing her childhood horrors will encourage society to act.
“My first pimp, he worked for a big steel company and he took me to his factory and they laid me on a metal sheet table,” Renfro recalled. “He told me I was going to make a lot of money that day and all I had to do was just lay there.”
Renfro now runs a rescue, the Kristy Love Foundation. “Kristy Love, it’s named after me, a pimp gave me that name over 20 years ago,” Renfro said.
The foundation provides a home for prostitutes trying to leave that life behind. She figures her efforts have helped over 700 women since opening in 2011.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Beshear says we can all help by recognizing the signs.
This is what to look for:
- Multiple young girls or boys that are together, but aren’t speaking, look nervous, look out of place
- People that don’t have any ID’s, driver’s licenses, credit cards and that seem to not necessarily know where they are
- When there are multiple children with one adult, kids don’t look related, they seem nervous and not even talking to each other
- Strange tattoos can be branding.
“It’s the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world,” Beshear said.
For more information on how you can help or get help, we have included additional links and hotlines:
YMCA Safe Place: call 502-635-5233 or text SAFE and address, city, state to 69866
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888
National Runaway Safeline: 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929)
Missing Children and Child Pornography: 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678)
Information from WHAS11