Congressman Guthrie Raises Human Trafficking Awareness

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- It is one of the leading criminal activities in the world, and it's happening right here at home.

The U.S. State Department estimates 800,000 people are bought and sold in the world every year.

"They showed a map where I live, this area, and this community. We're not worse than any where else, but we're no different than anywhere else. It's all over the country," Congressman, Brett Guthrie, said.

Today, at Western's Alive Center, the Congressman hosted a roundtable discussion focused on the growing issue. He says these conversations are a benefit to him and to the public.

"It's so people will become aware that this isn't just something you hear about from major cities, or you see on documentaries on television in major cities like Detroit or New York. It happens in our community," Guthrie said.

Guthrie also says Bowling Green residents and surrounding communities are vulnerable due to our location.

"We're on I-65, so it is something for us to be aware of and to address," Guthrie said.

But in the trafficking industry, offenders and their victims often move quickly, so it's important for agencies to work together.

"But, a lot of it goes across state lines, so we just need to make sure that if it is all local, at least we can share information both federally and locally," Guthrie said.

One way to keep your your child safe is to monitor their technology.

"Make sure you're asking questions, don't put blinders on, and be proactive in looking at what your child is doing, what the situation is, and also in your community," Honorable, Chris Cohron, said.

And if you see anything out of the ordinary, state officials urge you to give them a call.

"I think any time you see a situation, be an adult or child, where you don't believe that they are freely participating in any activity, don't be afraid to pick up the phone, notify law enforcement, or notify social services. I can't tell you how many cases have come about just because somebody picked up the phone when something didn't look right," Cohron said.

The number of human trafficking cases prosecuted in Kentucky courts increased from one in 2007 to twelve in 2013.

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