Selling Girls: A closer look at human trafficking in Kentuckiana

Trafficking victim
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) —Silky Clark, 39, has a cross tattooed on his forehead.

But when he went before a Jefferson County District Court judge Oct. 3, prosecutors argued he is no saint.

Clark is charged with Human Trafficking, a Class C Felony bumped up to a Class B because it involved a minor.

Clark is accused of luring a 16-year-old runaway, feeding her cocaine and heroin, and sex trafficking her.

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Ricky Lynn, state Attorney General Andy Beshear’s designated Human Trafficking investigator, testified that Clark used Facebook to try to bring in more underage girls.

Lynn also said Clark bragged about his business on Facebook.  “It says that he’s silk the pimp, manager of the penthouse, studied pimpology at Break the B*$@h College.”

The AG’s Cyber Crimes Unit helped track Clark down.

The three-man team is buried in work.

“At any given time, there are probably somewhere in the neighborhood to 12,000 to 14,000 computers online in Kentucky actively seeking out, trading child pornography images, seeking out children, looking for victims,” Tom Bell, the Cyber Crimes Investigations Manager, said.

Bell points out that social media has become a big tool for recruitment.

His colleague, Allyson Taylor, oversees prosecuting Human Trafficking cases for the Attorney General.

She travels the state to raise awareness on the problem.

“We know that the average age of entry into sex trafficking is 12 to 14,” Taylor pointed out.

Taylor warns parents to stay on top of their kids.

“There’s peer to peer recruitment of people in the life who are recruiting other people.”

Taylor also acknowledges that many adult prostitutes started out as kids.

“When it comes to the sex trade, we know that they were probably pulled into the life as a middle school-aged kid.”

For kids trapped in the dark world of sex trafficking, there is a new safe place for them.

Angela Renfro, Executive Director of the Kristy Love Foundation, opened a youth house right across the street from the adult house which has been helping women break the cycle of prostitution for going on seven years.

Renfro says the youth house on Date Street in Louisville is for 24-year-olds and younger.

“That way I can do more intervention,” Renfro said.