U.S. Attorney’s Office Asks the Public to Turn Human Trafficking Awareness into Action Throughout the Year
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Kentucky
Louisville, KY - As Human Trafficking Awareness month concludes, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky asks the public to remain vigilant and continue to shed light on this devastating crime that too often goes undetected. Everyone can play a role in detecting and preventing human trafficking. “Join our office in this important mission by turning awareness into action,” said U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett. “Know the red flags and when you see them, report. Your tip could be the lifeline a victim desperately needs and the first step in bringing traffickers to justice.”
Look for the signs. Human trafficking is widespread, and no community is immune, including those within the Western District. Trafficking occurs all around us, in our urban cities and across our rural farm communities. Situations can be found in the shadows of the legal businesses we frequent and the service industries we rely on everyday. Trafficking also increases around major events and trade shows that attract large numbers of tourists to our towns, including the Kentucky Derby, basketball tournaments, and farm shows. Learn who is most vulnerable to trafficking and how to spot the signs around you at: https://humantraffickinghotline.org/en/human-trafficking/recognizing-signs.
Report suspected activity. If you are a victim of human trafficking or suspect you know one, please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733), or local law enforcement. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911. If you believe a child is involved in a trafficking situation, submit a tip through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Call Center at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678). Tips can be submitted anonymously.
Reporting makes a difference. Tips, no matter how small, could be the critical piece that unlocks an investigation. Recently published Bureau of Justice statistics show an increase in human trafficking suspects referred to and prosecuted by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country. Nationwide, a total of 2,027 persons were referred for federal prosecution for human trafficking offenses in fiscal year 2021, a 49% increase from the 1,360 persons referred in 2011. The number of persons actually prosecuted for human trafficking more than doubled from 2011 to 2021 (from 729 persons to 1,672 persons, respectively).
Reporting also allows law enforcement to join forces with trauma-informed service providers and connects those being exploited to the support and resources they need to escape from their traffickers, end the cycle of exploitation, and rebuild their lives. Direct help is available to survivors by calling or texting the VictimConnect Hotline at 1-855-4VICTIM. Live chat and the VictimConnect Resource Map identifying local service providers are available at https://victimconnect.org/get-help/.
“Every individual deserves a life of freedom and human dignity, so human trafficking awareness must continue throughout the year,” said U.S. Attorney Bennett. “And while raising awareness is important, we must also turn awareness into action in order to dismantle trafficking networks and support survivors. I encourage the public to join forces with us in our continuing fight to end human trafficking and empower survivors.”
Additional resources and information on the Department of Justice’s efforts to combat human trafficking can be found at www.justice.gov/humantrafficking.
Updated January 29, 2024