The Kentucky Attorney General’s office fears that the surge of people who will be in Hopkinsville for the solar eclipse might encourage the increase in cases of sex trafficking.
Attorney General Andy Beshear was quick to clarify it’s no fault of the people coming to see the event, or of the solar eclipse itself. He said: “Though no fault of their own, we see increased trafficking, we see increased regional trafficking, and we see people being brought in from the outside.”
The attorney general’s office has been dedicating training across the state for people to sharply spot human trafficking which essentially involves using force, fraud or coercion to cause a sex act. The AG’s office gave special focus on Western Kentucky lately since the world’s attention will center on Hopkinsville on August 21 for the solar eclipse.
Allyson Cox Taylor from the office of child abuse and human trafficking prevention and prosecution explained why there might be an increase in sex trafficking during the solar eclipse. She said:”What I would imagine is that law enforcement would be looking at things like backpage.com and any other websites that are being used. The majority of this activity happens online. So before who weren’t trafficking before may decide, there are people in town that are anonymous. People we don’t know from another place and this is an opportunity to make money.”
She further warned: “There are groups of traffickers who move a circuit, who follow different events, so they might go to the Indy 500, the Super Bowl, The Derby, all these things where they know there will be more people in town with money.”
Victims of sex trafficking usually are not aware of their predators’ home addresses and current locations. They may also have more than one cell phone, and one more key to the hotel room, and are using prepaid cards for backpage.com.
Taylor says the brighter side the occasion may serve as an opportunity for them to rescue more children that are being trafficked out there.