Attorney General Andy Beshear is calling the passage of federal legislation amending the 1996 Communications Decency Act a “victory” in Kentucky’s fight to hold accountable those who promote and facilitate child sex trafficking online.
Online companies, like Backpage, profit from the promotion of child sex trafficking, but the 1996 Communications Decency Act has prevented the investigation and prosecution of these companies by state, territorial and local authorities, Beshear said.
Recently passed H.R. 1865 or Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 changes that, and Beshear hopes the President will swiftly sign the legislation into law.
“Every day in our county children are being sold for sex through companies like Backpage that are profiting from this horrendous child abuse,” Beshear said. “I commend the lawmakers who voted to help us stop this vile abuse.”
“Passing laws that hold those who profit from the victimization of others accountable for their actions is an important step in making survivors of sex trafficking whole,” said Angela Renfro, founder of the Kristy Love Foundation. “We are encouraged to see our Attorney General Beshear and other states’ attorneys general have this new weapon in the fight to end human trafficking.”
Beshear has established the Kentucky Attorney General’s office as the leading state agency fighting human trafficking, a modern-day form of slavery in which adults and children are forced into sex or labor services.
In the first three months of 2018, Beshear’s office has arrested a Louisville man and woman on human trafficking charges, and a Kansas man who attempted to purchase a Kentucky child for $250 and in exchange for drugs in a separate case. The office also secured the guilty plea of a Lawrenceburg man in March on human trafficking charges.
In February, Beshear’s office secured the guilty plea of former Campbell County District Judge Timothy Nolan on numerous felony charges, including human trafficking of adults, promoting human trafficking of minors and unlawful transaction with minors. He is scheduled to serve 20 years in prison.
The AG’s office, along with Catholic Charities of Louisville, received a federal grant in 2016, the first Department of Justice grant ever awarded to a Kentucky agency for human trafficking. The federal grant provides support to the statewide human trafficking taskforce in its efforts to develop a process for collecting and interpreting data on human trafficking and model protocols for victim-centered response, investigation and prosecution of these cases.
The funding allowed a specially trained human trafficking investigator to be hired.
The office offers training to organizations throughout the Commonwealth, and has trained over 4,000 individuals statewide, while forging partnerships with the trucking and hospitality industries and the Baptist Convention.
Human trafficking victims are often the most marginalized in society – victims of abuse and violence, runaways, refugees, immigrants or those who are homeless, Beshear said.
To learn more about human trafficking and efforts to fight it, contact the Attorney General’s Office of Child Abuse and Human Trafficking Prevention and Prosecution at 502-696-5300 or visit Catholic Charities of Louisville Rescue and Restore program website at http://www.rescueandrestoreky.org. The national human trafficking hotline number is 888-373-7888.