FRANKFORT –A bill passed by the Kentucky House of Representatives this week targets human trafficking with increased ability to prosecute.
House bill 229, sponsored by Rep. Sannie Overly of Paris, provides the Attorney General with concurrent jurisdiction alongside Commonwealth’s attorneys and county attorneys in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking.
In a recent statement Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo said that the legislation’s goal is to use that office’s statewide resources and expertise to help prosecutors stop the growing crime.
“The General Assembly passed its first major human trafficking law in 2007, and followed it with another far-reaching measure in 2013 that cracked down on traffickers and provided additional help to victims,” said Stumbo.
Last month, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services reported that there have been nearly 200 incidents across the state since statistics were first compiled in 2013. Last year, nearly all involved sex trafficking.
Attorney General Andy Beshear says that the legislation will go a long way to fight the growing crime.
“Today Kentucky took another step forward in its fight against modern day slavery with the passage of House Bill 229 by the House of Representatives, 92-0,” said Beshear. “This bill would give the Attorney General’s office the ability to prosecute human trafficking cases across the Commonwealth.”
Beshear added that while Kentucky has some of the nation’s strongest human trafficking laws to protect trafficked children, only about 10 percent of child trafficking reports have resulted in criminal investigations.
”My office stands ready to assist local law enforcement and local prosecutors to attack these cases and pull our children out of these horrific circumstances,” said Beshear. “I encourage the Senate to join with them and pass HB 229 and help us in our mission to protect Kentucky’s most vulnerable citizens.”
The bill now moves onto the Senate for further passage.
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