Advocates warn of sex trafficking during Derby
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - David Givhan, 35, of Michigan, will spend nearly 20 years in federal prison for running a sex trafficking ring between Michigan and Kentucky. Part of the ring took place during the Kentucky Derby.
Officials said Givhan forced one of the women involved to get his street name tattooed on her neck. He also threatened to kill her and her children.
"Word gets around about Kentucky Derby," Kasey Fitch, a human trafficking survivor, said. "You know that's where all the money is. Tons of people come from out of town and they bring girls from out of town."
Fitch has been out of human trafficking for four months and is recovering at the Kristy Love Foundation.
Fitch said Derby is called "money maker" weekend, and dozens of women there need help, but can't ask.
"You're mentally just shut off and emotionally just numb because you've done it for so long," Fitch said. "You know when you get to that low point you think there's no other way, but there is."
People like Amy Leenerts, the founder of Free 2 Hope, help people recognize ways out.
"These things we know we're going to have a high volume of people bought and sold," Leenerts said. "It's just, you know, we expect it. I mean it's awful."
Leenerts' organization targets hot spots for human trafficking and prostitution. She helps the public recognize the signs.
"There are so many things you can look for," Leenerts said. "It might be somebody that won't make eye contact with you. If somebody else is obviously telling them what to say, it's very scripted."
There are many other red flags. Lennerts said go with your gut. If you see something, call an anonymous hotline or police. Don't intervene.
"Intercept is not the best thing to do anyway because these people are normally well armed," Leenerts said. "You know, and this person is worth a whole lot of money to them. You don't want to get in between those two things."
Shattering the Silence is a human trafficking conference and city-wide outreach event that will be held at New Life Church on April 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. and April 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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