Combating the evils of human trafficking

By Tom Troth

At the 2016 annual meeting, the Kentucky Baptist Convention enacted a resolution on the evils of human trafficking. That resolution said in part that “we call on Kentucky Baptist to support public policies at the local … [and] … state … level which combat human trafficking.”

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, I had the privilege of being invited to stand alongside Gov. Matt Bevin, Reps. Addia Wuchner and Melinda Prunty, Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders, and Marissa Castellanos, of Catholic Charities of Louisville, to participate in the ceremonial signing of House Bill 524, a bill that seeks to do the very thing contemplated by the resolution adopted at the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s 2016 annual meeting.

At the signing, Rep. Wuchner pointed out that “trafficking of adults and young children” is occurring in the Commonwealth. Ms. Castellanos, from Catholic Charities pointed out that this exploitation is happening to our most vulnerable citizens.

Commissioner Sanders pointed out that House Bill 524 will give additional tools to law enforcement in combating this terrible evil.

In summary, House Bill 524 requires individuals who are found guilty of human trafficking of minors to register on the sex offender, or crimes against minor children registry. The legislation further requires the posting of the human trafficking hotline number (Red Flag: Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-3737-888) at public schools and at public rest areas. Finally, the legislation adds additional definitions of what constitutes a serious physical injury of a minor.

House Bill 524 is an important step in the battle against human trafficking in this state.

Please take a moment and watch this video.

 

SPEAKING AT CHURCHES, MEETING WITH LEGISLATORS, AND ATTENDING COMMITTEE MEETINGS

Also, I want to again express my appreciation to Dr. Paul Chitwood and all Kentucky Baptists for the privilege of being able to serve as your legislative agent for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Just to give you a quick update on my activities. My primary focus between sessions of the Kentucky General Assembly has been to visit legislators in their home districts and, when invited, to speak at churches about my work for Kentucky Baptists. So far, I spoken at churches in western, central, and southcentral Kentucky, and have met with several legislators in those areas, paying particular attention to visiting the newly-elected legislators. These dedicated citizen legislators are true public servants in every sense of the word. They are working hard to represent their constituents in Frankfort and do so often at great sacrifice to their families and to their careers.

When you meet legislators in their own home district you get to see first-hand the difficulties they have trying to juggle their busy schedules. I have the greatest respect for the institution of the General Assembly and for those who serve.

I ask you lift up your elected representatives in prayer. Pray that God will give them discernment to do what is best for the people of Kentucky. Pray that God will give them endurance to complete the tasks they have been assigned. They have a difficult but important job to do. Their actions determine the direction for our state.

In addition to speaking at churches, and visiting legislators, whenever possible, I have attended various meetings of Interim Joint Committees of the Kentucky General Assembly when those committees have matters on their agenda that are of interest to Kentucky Baptists. In particular, I have attended the meetings of the House of Representatives Working Group on Adoption, which is chaired by Rep. David Meade from Stanford, Ky., and Rep. Joni Jenkins from Louisville. This Task Force has held six meetings during the time between legislative sessions and will be presenting legislation in the next session of the General Assembly to streamline the adoption/foster care system in Kentucky.

As many of you know first-hand, there are often delays and obstacles to providing foster children and potential adoptive children the permanent home in Kentucky that every child deserves. Streamlining the adoptive/foster care process is a priority for Gov. Bevin, Reps. Meade and Jenkins, and for Kentucky Baptists. We will be fully engaged on this important legislative initiative.

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to serve Kentucky Baptists. If you have any questions at all about what is happening with legislative issues in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, please feel free to give me a call. Also, I would be honored to come speak to your church about the work I am doing as a legislative agent for the Kentucky Baptist Convention. My phone number is 502-330-5024, and my email address is [email protected].

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

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