Kentucky attorney general kicking off human trafficking task force in Erlanger

ERLANGER, Ky. -- Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear was in Northern Kentucky Tuesday morning to promote an initiative he hopes will stop human trafficking.

Beshear introduced his Response Initiative to Guide Human Trafficking Services (RIGHTS) at the St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center.

The task force will focus on designing and optimizing community responses to victim-survivors of human trafficking in Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati.

"We are fighting the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world, which is human trafficking," Beshear said. "It occurs in every community including all the communities in Northern Kentucky."

RIGHTS co-founder Sharlene Boltz said 59 percent of identified trafficking victims in Northern Kentucky are children. Their goal with this new initiative is to identify who those victims are and get them the help they need. 

"This problem is a community-based problem," Boltz said. "It requires education of the community. It requires education of our law enforcement, legal team and health care providers so that we can appropriately identify human trafficking victims."

In recent years, the office of the attorney general has partnered with several Kentucky organizations as well as state hotels, travel and tourism businesses to develop a program to train hotel and tourism employees on how to recognize and report human trafficking.

A public open house is planned for 7 p.m. March 21 at Northern Kentucky University's Griffin Hall to inform those who are interested about the RIGHTS task force. 

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