Louisville organizations offering resources to victims of human - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville organizations offering resources to victims of human trafficking

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Local organizations want to help people who have been forced into a life of prostitution. 

Experts say human trafficking is a problem in Louisville and, later this month, victims will be able to access a number of resources all in one place. 

"It's actually a program that's been done in Phoenix successfully and it's really designed to give men, women and children who are in the life of forced prostitution, forced labor an outlet to come in, get services," said Dianna Anderson, Human Trafficking Alliance President. 

Those services will include medical care, substance abuse help and job assistance -- among other things. 

Grace United Methodist Church on Denmark Street in Louisville will host the confidential drop-in center on Feb. 20. 

Human trafficking is a crime that's often overlooked. 

Tuesday night, the sixth annual Human Trafficking Awareness Conference was held at the University of Louisville. The event was held by U of L's Women's Center and Women4Women student board. 

"It's really important because a lot of people don't recognize that human trafficking happens in Louisville," said U of L student Brigid Connelly. 

Conference speakers included a human trafficking survivor and those who have done research on the subject, like Anderson. 

"It happens in a lot of our hotels and motels and there's this misconception that these type of things only happen in the west end and the south end and it's a Louisville Metro problem," Anderson told WDRB News. 

Organizations say spreading the word has helped. More people are calling the human trafficking tip line. 

"The calls went up 800 percent between 2013 and 2014 here in Jefferson County," said Amy Leenerts, founder of the organization Free2Hope. 

More people also attended the conference. We're told attendance is up compared to last year. 

As for the event later this month, Anderson says she hopes victims will walk into the drop-in center and get the help they need. 

"Just an open door to give these individuals who are stuck on the streets a way out and that's really what were focusing on. We're hoping it' going to be a great success and it's something we can repeat," Anderson said. 

Anderson tells us TARC will provide free transportation to anyone who wants to access the drop-in center on Feb. 20. Interpreter services will also be available, according to a poster for the event. 

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