Kentucky lawmakers look to combat sex trafficking

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Lawmakers in Frankfort are considering two resolutions which are aimed at combating sex trafficking, something state leaders said has seen a huge increase across the country in the past decade.

"That's just over the top and something that's so unacceptable," said Rep. Donna Mayfield, "and it's our responsibility to protect the vulnerable in our society."

One of the resolutions focuses on internet trafficking while the other looks to curb child trafficking at hotels.

Kentucky legislators joined victim advocates Wednesday afternoon on the House floor in an effort to push these two resolutions.

"I think we're living in a day and age today when turning our heads the other way and not paying attention needs to be a part of the past," says Lexington-based advocacy group Refuge for Women executive director Ked Frank, "I think all of the things we've been seeing on the TV today, that as victims come forward, too many times people who have been in positions of power have decided to not speak up. They've decided maybe to underestimate what is actually happening."

The resolutions have been introduced in both the House and the Senate.

The internet trafficking resolution will urge Congress to close a loophole that some say keeps investigators from shutting down online ads for sex. The hotel resolution encourages those booking stays in Kentucky to choose hotels, motels and other areas trained to spot sex trafficking and exploitation. (People can view a list of companies who have done this training here.)

"They have the training to look for and identify human trafficking in their facilities," said Rep. John Blanton, "that way we support those particular locations and that's another tool for us to help to stomp out human trafficking here in the commonwealth."

Advocates urge people to be a voice for victims and take an active role to help combat sex trafficking.

"These exploited women and children, they're more than numbers," said Mary Kunze, a public policy analyst with The Family Foundation. "They're daughters, they're sisters, they're mothers and they're our neighbors. They're real people. They're not somebody in a movie, but they're somebody we actually run into every day."

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