While in California making a delivery in January at 3:30 in the morning, Nicholasville truck driver Arian Taylor rescued a 19-year-old woman who knocked on his cab door for help instead of allowing herself to be forced into prostitution by her friend’s boyfriend.
Taylor, who voluntarily took human trafficking awareness training, was able to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline displayed on a window sticker of his truck cab to get the young woman help.
Attorney General Andy Beshear sees Taylor and all Kentucky drivers as invaluable resources to help protect victims of human trafficking in the Commonwealth and across the country.
Beshear is supporting 2019 legislation that requires all Kentuckians applying for a commercial drivers license to complete human trafficking training and carry information on how to spot and report it.
“Think about how far-reaching it would be for victims of human trafficking if every commercial licensed driver had awareness training,” Beshear said. “Every year 70 million vehicles travel through the Northern Kentucky area alone. This is a real opportunity for Kentucky to equip all our drivers with the tools needed to save lives and help some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Beshear’s office and Colorado-based Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) have pushed for bipartisan legislation requiring the training in the past two regular legislative sessions but without success.
Beshear said it is time lawmakers to step up and help fight human trafficking across Kentucky and the nation.
Rep. Linda Belcher, of Shepherdsville, plans to pre-file legislation requiring Kentucky permit applicants to complete human trafficking training and for all CDL holders to be provided with information about the crime.
“While more and more people are aware of the reach and toll of human trafficking, there are still many who may think this is something that doesn’t happen here in the United States,” said Rep. Belcher. “My bill will spread the message that there is help available, and if it makes a difference for just one person, it will be worth it. We’re hoping this will be a bipartisan bill that everyone will support.”
Co-sponsor Rep. Dennis Keene, of Wilder, said, “I’m co-sponsoring this legislation because I believe this is a sensible step that raises awareness and hopefully limits human trafficking in the future. I cannot imagine anyone being opposed to this.”
Beshear said he congratulates Taylor on receiving TAT’s 2018 Harriet Tubman Award for helping the young woman in California escape from someone who attempted to force her into sex trafficking.
In receiving his award in May, Taylor said: “Freedom is a privilege that every human being should have, and being identified with a freedom fighter like Harriet Tubman has totally enriched my life to keep that fight alive at all costs.”
Since taking office, Beshear has turned the Office of the Attorney General into the leading state agency fighting human trafficking.
Most recently Beshear’s office and Catholic Charities of Louisville released the 2017 Human Trafficking Task Force Report. The report is the first overall look at the state’s coordinated efforts to fight human trafficking since Beshear’s office and Catholic Charities of Louisville received a federal grant in 2016.
The grant has supported statewide efforts to combat trafficking, including the ability for Beshear’s office to hire the state’s first full-time human trafficking investigator.
Last year, Beshear’s office conducted 80 statewide trainings, reaching almost 4,000 individuals and worked with partners to create the state’s first coordinated effort to train hotel staff to recognize and report human trafficking.
In the first four months of 2018, Beshear’s office arrested two Louisville men and a Louisville woman on human trafficking charges involving two 16-year-old girls, 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. Nolan was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison.
Signs of a Victim of Human Trafficking
There is no one single indicator of human trafficking, but a combination of these signs are common in victims:
· Travel together and have identical tattoos, branding.
· Unable to identify what town or state they are in or where they are staying.
· Lack official identification documents and personal possessions.
· Appears malnourished and has physical injuries.
· Avoids eye contact and seems to adhere to limited, scripted or rehearsed responses in social interaction.
· Loss of sense of time.
· Has possession of multiple pre-paid credit cards.
Reporting Human Trafficking
Beshear said it is the law to report any suspected case of child trafficking, and that everyone has a role to play in preventing human trafficking.
· If a human trafficking victim is in immediate danger dial 911.
· To report suspected human trafficking of a child, call 877-KYSAFE1.
· Victims of human trafficking may also call or text the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888. Interpreters are available for callers.