Victim advocates warn of sex trafficking signs ahead of Derby

Advocates for victims of sex trafficking prepare for Derby Week
Updated: Apr. 30, 2018 at 12:14 AM EDT
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“It makes a girl feel like she’s a productive member of society again, that on Derby it’s not...
“It makes a girl feel like she’s a productive member of society again, that on Derby it’s not about being bought or sold," Renfro said of the Derby hats. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Derby Day is less than a week away. It's an exciting week in Louisville but a scary time for some.

"It brings a whole lot of bad memories for some girls," said Angela Renfro, Executive Director of the Kristylove Foundation.

Renfro is trying to turn that around. Every year around this time, she hosts a luncheon for survivors of human trafficking.

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"They get to dress up and feel beautiful," Renfro said. "It makes a girl feel like she's a productive member of society again, that on Derby it's not about being bought or sold."

Her work doesn't stop with survivors. She'll be working overtime this week to help victims.

"It's like life or death," Renfro said. "It's so important because we see it and we notice something wrong but our second thought no they just may be lost."

Renfro said many victims are hiding in plain sight. Walking alone late at night, avoiding eye contact, and carrying multiple handbags might indicate there's something going on.

If you see a girl in distress, Renfro said you should ask if she needs help, inform her there's services like Kristylove available to help, and call 911.

"I usually stay up about 16 hours with one eye open, one eye closed, I'm closer to my phone, we already have four beds ready for girls that we might pick up off the streets," Renfro said.

The Kristylove Foundation, along with several other local groups, went around to local businesses over the weekend to make them more aware of the signs of human trafficking, too.

For more information on the Kristylove Foundation 3rd Annual Hats Off to Survivors, visit their event page here.

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