LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A 14-year-old girl was rescued from human trafficking, and several arrests made when police received a tip during Kentucky's last Derby season.
Speaking at a press conference in Louisville on Thursday, Attorney General Andy Beshear said horse racing fans aren't the only ones looking to make some easy money, so are the "horrible individuals who enslave children and adults, and exploit them for sex or labor."
Beshear said criminals should not be allowed to mar "our Derby," especially in a crime that victimizes children and other vulnerable individuals.
"So, be our eyes and ears," Beshear said.
Working together, the attorney general's office and local law enforcement saw the conviction of a Michigan man who was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison earlier this month for federal sex trafficking-related charges in Kentucky.
David Q. Givhan, 35, of Kalamazoo, Mich., was found guilty in December of one count of sex trafficking and three counts of interstate transportation for prostitution at U. S. District Court in Louisville.
According to the U. S. Attorney's office, the investigation was opened when Louisville Metro Police Department officers encountered a woman Givhan had transported from Michigan to Louisville. He was caught in a prostitution sting coinciding with the Kentucky Derby.
Beshear called human trafficking the fasting growing criminal enterprise in the world, and said his office is the lead agency in Kentucky battling the crime.
"In the last quarter of 2016 alone, we provided assistance on 14 possible human trafficking cases, and were the sole investigating agency on five cases," Beshear said.
His office partnered with the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute earlier in the month to host a Human Trafficking Investigation Course for Kentucky's for more than 100 law enforcement officers and prosecutors.
Beshear said the fight against human trafficking ramped up when he was contacted by the Kentucky Baptist Convention. The state's largest religious organization serving more than 750,000 Southern Baptists in the state passed a resolution to only patron hotels that teach employees how to recognize human trafficking and encourage reporting to police.
Soon after, the attorney general said the Kentucky Trucking Association, the Kentucky Hotel Association and UPS vowed to train employees on the signs and how to report.
"This is our city, and this is our state, and this is our Derby," Beshear said. "These victims need your help. They're counting on you."
To report signs of human trafficking in Kentucky, call 1-877-KYSAFE-1, local law enforcement or the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 1-888-373-7888.