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Human Trafficking Awareness

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. According to the Child Liberation Foundation, nearly 40 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking; 25% are children. It takes place across the world, across the country, and even here in the Commonwealth. The National Human Trafficking Hotline Data Report reveals 115 cases of human trafficking were identified in Kentucky in 2021. Sadly, children in care are more likely to experience trafficking and exploitation.

By providing a caring, consistent, responsible presence CASAs can help prevent children from being trafficked, recognize & report signs of trafficking, and advocate for children who have experienced it. Thanks to the persistence of a dedicated CASA volunteer, Elizabeth* is now residing in a loving foster home. When her mother tested positive for several substances and admitted to using in front of Elizabeth, she was referred to an addiction recovery program. The mother left the program and Elizabeth was placed with her maternal grandmother.

The CASA assigned to this case reached out to the grandmother numerous times to set up a visit. Each time, the meeting was cancelled at the last minute with a variety of excuses. The CASA supervisor and volunteer visited the home unannounced to find Elizabeth with unbrushed hair, wearing dirty clothing. The grandmother appeared to be under the influence. Marijuana was observed on the coffee table. The mother and her boyfriend were present in the home. Each person gave a different account of who was living there. The CASA reported her findings and Elizabeth was soon placed in foster care.

The investigation by the Cabinet revealed disturbing details involving drugs and human trafficking. Elizabeth began revealing her abuse and trauma including being locked in a dark room, deprived of food, and abused. Had her CASA not been assigned and persistent, Elizabeth might still be living in an abusive home. She is currently in a supportive environment and is receiving therapy twice a week. CASA continues to advocate for her.

*Name and details changed to protect confidentiality.

  • To report suspected human trafficking to Federal law enforcement: 1-866-347-2423

  • To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733)


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