Study by the University of Kentucky on child trafficking will focus on middle schools

Republished from WEKU.

A child sex trafficking study to educate Kentucky middle school personnel is entering its second phase. The study has found common misconceptions with child trafficking in the state. Doctor Ginny Sprang is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Kentucky. She said there is a lack of understanding of how trafficking works.

 “Children can be trafficked by their parents. In fact what the opioid epidemic in Kentucky, a lot of the cases we see are parents who are addicted to drugs who are trading sexual access to their children for drugs.”

She said the study aims to provide training on identifying and reporting child sex trafficking.

 “We’re not trying to turn teachers, bus drivers into detectives or mental health professionals but we are trying to help them take the information that they’re observing, that they’re hearing, that they’re uncovering in their interactions with the child, and turning that into action when needed.”

Sprang also said that research from the study will help determine whether perceptions can be changed. The study is currently in 100 middle schools around the state. This phase is set to continue for another 18 months. The first phase of this effort involved the placement of billboards around central Kentucky.

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Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.