Regional
11:31 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Daily News: Warren County Woman Charged with Human Trafficking

A southern Kentucky woman has been charged with human trafficking after police say she took money to let a 13-year-old girl have sex with men. Warren County Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Cohron told The Daily News that the case of 30-year-old Rose Marie Woolbright is "very unusual" and the first of its kind in Warren County.

Woolbright is charged with allowing two men to engage in sexual activities with the girl.

Woolbright is charged with unlawful transaction with a minor and second-degree sodomy. Also arrested and charged with sex offenses were 37-year-old Chad Wayne Simmons and 28-year-old Pedro Lopez Diaz, both of Bowling Green. All three remained in custody on Saturday.

Simmons is charged with two counts of second-degree sodomy and two counts of first-degree unlawful transaction with a minor-illegal sex act with someone under 16. Diaz is charged with second-degree rape. Jail records did not list attorneys for any of the three.

"We anticipate that these charges will go to the grand jury within the next 30 days," Cohron said.

If a grand jury indicts Woolbright on human trafficking, it will be the 16th such indictment in the state since Kentucky passed its human trafficking law in 2007.

Since the law's passage, there have been 15 state grand jury indictments under the statute. The number of indictments for human trafficking is small in comparison to the number of victims served here since 2008. Marissa Castellanos, human trafficking program manager at Catholic Charities of Louisville, said the group has identified 93 human trafficking cases in Kentucky involving 138 victims, some of whom were relocated to the state after being trafficked elsewhere.

Castellanos said 53 percent of the victims were initially trafficked as children.

"Unfortunately, we've had enough prior circumstances where this law became necessary," Cohron said about Kentucky's human trafficking law. "The act of using a child to commit a sex act alone deserves its own punishment as well as the act of the trafficking of the child."

A bill proposed during the last legislative session would have enhanced the penalties for people who pay to have sex with minors. But the legislation stalled in the Senate, Castellanos said. Similar legislation is expected to be proposed again.

"This crime is completely demand driven," Castellanos said. "If we don't go after demand, human trafficking will continue to exist. If you are going after the buyers in some way, that will hopefully go at the issue of demand."