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KSP and local non-profit help raise awareness of human trafficking after case in Ohio County

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 6:51 PM CST
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Ky. (WBKO) - Two men are in custody in Ohio County, one is accused of sex trafficking after selling a juvenile.

34-year-old Diego Alonzo Perez of Beaver Dam is facing charges of human trafficking after police say he sold a juvenile to 20-year-old Lucas Mateo.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Corey King spoke on the incident.

“It was determined that she was sold to this Mateo gentleman, and at that point has been living, she has been living with him since, since the, essentially the sale, if you will, back in August of 2020,” said King.

Lucas Mateo is charged with rape third degree.

“Even though she’s in foster care, all participants at this point directly involved in it are in jail. We do anticipate perhaps additional charges and maybe even more arrests,” added King.

Phoenix Rising a local non-profit that helps victims of human trafficking heal and also raises awareness on the cause spoke on the signs of human trafficking.

“When we’re talking about signs of human trafficking, there’s lots, there’s, those things can manifest or transpire in a lot of different ways,” says Mariah Yates, a board member of Phoenix Rising.

“You’ll see, you know, mental health and behavioral signs, anxiety, fearful depression, they may seem timid or submissive, may avoid eye contact. A lot of times you’ll see physical health types of things, may seem malnourished, may seem, there’s just some physical signs there,” added Yates.

Yates also spoke on the harm caused to the victims of human trafficking and the healing process.

“Especially at a young age when you only are seen or known as what you can you know, what value you have in terms of bartering for somebody else, you know your sexual value or what you can attain for your trafficker. Those are things that psychologically take, take years to work through and that is part of what our organization does our organization is a survivor-led organization,” also said Yates.

Yates and KSP add that is it essential to familiarize yourself with signs of human trafficking but also learn more on human trafficking.

For more information on human trafficking, click here.

If you believe someone is a victim of human trafficking you can call in a tip to KSP anonymously at 1(800) 222-5555 or call the national human trafficking hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888 or text 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”)

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