ROCK Cares Foundation raises over $11,000 to fight sex trafficki - WDRB 41 Louisville News

ROCK Cares Foundation raises over $11,000 to fight sex trafficking

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Slavery still exists in Louisville, and communities across the state in the form of human sex trafficking, but a simple purchase is helping make a difference for local women and children.

It's a problem that doesn't get a lot of discussion.

"We don't want to think about it," said Tom Wine, the Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney. "It's ugly -- when you talk about a 12-, 13- or 14-year-old who has as many as 40 or 45 partners in a day."

Marissa Castellanos with Catholic Charities of Louisville says women and children in Louisville are being sold into commercial sex markets and forced into prostitution. Some victims are as young as 8 years old.

"This is the reality of what's happening in Louisville metro, in small-world communities nearby, in our suburban areas, in the neighborhoods where we live. It's happening in the restaurants and hotels that we frequent, and buildings where we work and apartments and truck stops that we drive by every day," Castellanos said.

Castellanos says Catholic Charities of Louisville is becoming part of the solution. Its human trafficking program raises awareness by helping victims, and partnering with others like prosecutors and local police to help them recognize the signs someone is a victim.

"People don't set out in live with a career ambition to become a prostitute," said LMPD Police Chief Steve Conrad. "This is something that happens through coercion and drug use and manipulation, and what we're finding is, given alternatives, we can help people."

It takes money to provide that help, and it's coming, in part, from Kentucky drivers who purchase a specialty license plate reading, "In God We Trust." It's the creation of the ROCK Cares Foundation. The foundation is donating $3,300 to Catholic Charities and a Lexington organization. That brings its total donation to fight this problem to $11,000.

It's helping, but it's not enough.

"We don't want to think about it," Wine said. "We want to try to look the other way. It's our responsibility. It may not be your child, but it may well be. It may not be your granddaughter, but it may well be. And we've got to face that."

"This is about the survivors: how to help them, how to be there for them when no one else was, and help them to regain control of their lives," Castellanos said.

The license plates are $44 dollars at the county clerk's office, with $10 from every purchase going towards the ROCK Cares Foundation to help exploited women and children.

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