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Ky. bill on human trafficking awareness and prevention passes committee

The Kentucky Capitol building
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House Bill 3 passed in Kentucky's House Judiciary Committee.

A bill meant to tackle human trafficking passed unanimously with bipartisan support in Kentucky’s House Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

House Bill 3 takes aim at human trafficking across Kentucky by requiring certain locations to post signage that displays the hotline number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.

The bill cleared the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday with unanimous support. If enacted, it would apply to hotels, airports, truck stops, bus stations, and highways. The printed signage must be in both English and Spanish.

The signage is meant to aid victims of human trafficking, according to Republican Rep. Suzanne Miles, who sponsored the bill.

“If we have victims that are out there, they have the opportunity to see that number, and it's an easy number to remember in case they need help,” Miles said during the hearing Wednesday.

Any location that refuses to post the signs in clearly visible areas would face a fine of up to $50 for each day of noncompliance.

HB 3 would also establish a working group that would collect, study and report statewide human trafficking data. The working group, chaired by Attorney General Russell Coleman, would be a conglomerate of members of governmental and nongovernmental organizations and federal agencies.

“Sex trafficking and labor trafficking occur in many different settings within the community, and victims of these crimes have different experiences,” Heather Wagers, executive director for the attorney general’s office, said during the hearing. “So it is extremely important to have a holistic approach to this where everybody's input is valued and appreciated.”

The human trafficking legislation is meant to mirror other federal laws and programs like the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, according to Miles.

The Blue Campaign and the National Human Trafficking Resource Center have resource signs available to order online for free. Miles said she plans to work with Kentucky’s Department of Transportation to create a uniform sign to post on major roadways.

Giselle is LPM's breaking news reporter. Email Giselle at grhoden@lpm.org.
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