FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — Legislation targeting human traffickers and providing assistance to victims is headed to the House with the unanimous support of the House Judiciary Committee.
HB 2, which has the support of Attorney General Daniel Cameron, would increase resources and the awareness of resources available to victims; close a loophole in how human trafficking offenders are treated in relation to the sex offender registry; and provide greater support to law enforcement and prosecutors working human trafficking cases.
Those convicted of trafficking adults for the purpose of commercial sex, including prostitution, will be added to the Sex Offender Registry under language included in HB 2. Currently, only those who take advantage of children in this manner are added to the registry, according to the House Majority Caucus.
“HB 2 is the result of a collaborative effort with Attorney General Daniel Cameron and other stakeholders to provide common sense solutions to human trafficking,” said House Majority Caucus Chair Suzanne Miles of Owensboro.
“I believe we have an education issue in our state, that people not only don’t understand how many forms human trafficking can take, nor are they aware of the resources available to victims. HB 2 is the first step in addressing these challenges,” she added.
As one of law enforcement’s most effective methods of catching human trafficking offenders is having an officer pose as a minor, Miles’ proposal also eliminates the defense that the intended victim was not really a minor. This language is based on the intent to knowingly take advantage of a minor.
Additionally, HB 2 requires signage that includes the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline phone number and other information about resources available to victims of human trafficking to be posted in public restrooms at airports, bus stops, train stations, and truck stops.
Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations. Due to the Commonwealth’s interstate system and central location, Kentucky is a convenient and centralized hub for human trafficking.
Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some commercial sex act or labor. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide. It can happen in any community, and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality.