Last night (Monday, February 6th) I went to a meeting at a local coffee shop to discuss human trafficking. The meeting was put together by a local group, sponsored by End Slavery TN, which is part of a larger organization called International Teams. It was an informative meeting. I believe the problem of human trafficking and slavery is bigger in our country then most of us would like to admit. I think, as we shine light on this issue, we will be surprised at how wide spread of a problem this is.
Here are some statistics about human trafficking just in the state of Tennessee:
- 85 counties in Tennessee (out of 95 counties total) reported at least one case of human sex trafficking in the last 24 months (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation – TBI – 2011).
- The following four counties reported more than 100 cases: a) Shelby (Memphis), b) Davidson (Nashville), c) Coffee (Manchester), d) Knox (Knoxville) (TBI, 2011).
- Human sex trafficking in Tennessee is a bigger problem than gangs.
- In Tennessee, there are not adequate services to aid victims of human sex trafficking.
- Of annual reported minor female runaways, TBI estimates that 1,000 are trafficked into sex slavery.
End Slavery TN also has a website geared toward students – www.bethejam.org.
Finally, I was given a hotline for Tennessee. It’s called the Tennessee Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline. The number is 1-855-55-TNHTH (86484).
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-3737-888.
At the meeting I picked up a flyer that said, “If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave – whether it is commercial sex, housework, farm work, or any other activity – call the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline to access help and services.”
What do you know, and what have you learned, about human trafficking that you can share with me?