Bill aimed at stopping heinous crimes against kids awaits vote in Senate committee

03/27/2012 10:04 PM

Kentucky lawmakers could act this week on a bill that would address one of the most troubling crimes that has become more common internationally as well as in the shadows here in the Bluegrass.

The underground trade of human trafficking has led to illegal immigrants being exploited to work for little to no wages, as well as women and children being sold for sex. Across the globe, an estimated 2.5 million people, including children, are sold for sex or to do work, according to United Nations figures. .

It’s unclear how many victims are in Kentucky, partially because police and prosecutors need training to identify and track human traffickers, say victims’ advocates. But anecdotally, at least five dozen victims have been identified in recent years.

Rep. Sannie Overly, D- Paris, filed legislation — House Bill 350 — to strengthen penalties against traffickers and create a new division of the Kentucky State Police to address the alarming problem. Here’s a closer look at the issue and the proposed legislation now pending in the Senate:

Senate Judiciary Chairman Tom Jensen, R-London, says the issue is important and he hopes to hold a vote on it this week both in the Senate Judiciary Committee and on the Senate floor.

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