In Kentucky alone, drugs were involved in almost 40 percent of child sex trafficking cases -- cases where the age of alleged victims is 2 to 17 years old.
And yet Kentucky -- one of five states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies as hardest hit by the opioid crisis -- is one of only a small handful of states that officially tracks and reports the intersection of drug addiction and sex trafficking.
"Sold in America," a new documentary series from next-generation national news network Newsy, dives deep into this violent, abusive and lucrative industry to uncover the gaps in government efforts to combat sex trafficking. The three-part series presents the stories behind the buying and selling of sex through the voices of trafficking survivors, sex workers, pimps, buyers and the public officials on the front lines of the effort.
Covington is dealing with some of the highest overdose rates in the state, according to the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy. The Kentucky Attorney General’s office is working to combat sex trafficking, by training local law enforcement and working and using from the U.S. Department of Justice.
At the University of Louisville, medical students are being trained spot trafficking victims, including minors, who show up in their offices.
These programs are featured in the episode "The Trafficking."
"Our lives matter too. And we're not bad people. We just got in a bad situation," said Angelo Renfro, who runs a safe house for survivors of addiction and human trafficking.
WCPO and Newsy presented a screening of "Sold in America: The Trafficking," along with a live panel discussion with reporters, public officials and victims of sex trafficking from our region Thursday night.