U.S. Attorney's Office for Western District of Kentucky Calls for Public Awareness During Human Trafficking Prevention Month
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Kentucky
Louisville, KY – January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, a time to educate ourselves and raise awareness in our communities about this devastating crime that violates the most basic of human rights - freedom. Whether it’s forced labor, domestic servitude, or sex trafficking of children and adults, human trafficking is the exploitation of human beings for profit and has no place in any community. Yet every day, these horrific crimes are happening across the United States and worldwide, stripping victims of their dignity, forcing them into a life of fear and a state of servitude.
That’s why in January and throughout the year, the Department of Justice, and dedicated prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, together with victim witness coordinators and support personnel, work with law enforcement partners to prevent human trafficking and bring offenders to justice. The U.S. Attorney’s Office joins forces with trauma-informed service providers to protect survivors and connect them with the resources and support they need and deserve.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office encourages the public to join in this important mission to help shed light on this horrific crime that too often goes undetected. “The first step in combatting human trafficking is identifying and reporting potential trafficking situations,” said U.S. Attorney Bennett. “This crime often occurs in plain sight. Labor and sex trafficking situations can be found in both legal and illegal labor industries, including childcare, elder care, massage parlors, nail and hair salons, restaurants, hotels, factories, construction, landscaping, farming, escort services and the drug trade.”
Know the below indicators that can help identify a potential human trafficking situation:
Does the victim have freedom of movement?
Has the victim or their family been threatened with harm if they attempt to leave?
Is the victim in possession of their own travel documents?
Is the victim coached on what to say to community members, workers, law enforcement or immigration officials? Does someone else communicate for the victim?
Has the victim been threatened with deportation or criminal charges?
Is the victim recruited for one purpose but forced to engage in other work?
Has the victim been harmed, deprived of food, water, sleep, medical care, or other life necessities?
Is the victim living in substandard housing?
Are the victim’s wages being unlawfully garnished to pay off a debt or fee? (Paying off a smuggling free alone is not considered trafficking.)
Is the victim free to contact friends or family without being coached or monitored?
Is the victim allowed to socialize or attend religious services?
Is the victim forced to perform commercial sex acts?
Is the victim under the age of 18 and engaged in commercial sex?
The public can make a difference by being aware of these red flags and acting. U.S. Attorney Bennett emphasized, “Report what you see and together, we can stop human trafficking.”
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 your 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).
Information on the Department of Justice’s efforts to combat human trafficking can be found at www.justice.gov/humantrafficking.
Updated January 8, 2024