Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking Haiku

Lonely and depressed,
inadequate and worthless.
Please, even one friend?

Online chatting fills
this void in my heart.  He says
that he “treasures” me.

We plan to meet soon.
Friday at a street corner.
We’ll ride in his car.

So, we meet at eight.
But his face does not show the
worth he made me feel.

I’m locked in the car.
Not one man, but two up front.
Confusion and fear.

Later, a basement.
Both my body and my soul
in chains.  I am drugged.

If I tell, they kill
my family.  No escape.
Stuck in a nightmare.

Selling my body,
twelve times a day.  What happened?
Acceptance and love?

I feel as if I
merely watch myself living
this hell in a dream.

Reality.  My
reality.  Forever.
Hope does not exist.

But wait, too good to
be true.  He is arrested:
the man who constrains!

I have never been
so glad to be taken.  I
go to a shelter.

Seven years of dark.
I am now given freedom
to speak, act, and live.

Freedom, choices, life.
Never valued these more than
now.  Goodbye to force!

For rescue, refuge,
safety, my forever thanks
to End Slavery.


ESTN Library Spotlight


by Clarice Grooms, ESTN Librarian

BOOK: The Natashas
AUTHOR: Victor Malarek
"The Natashas" depicts the aftermath of the break up of the Soviet Union. The economy of the new republics has collapsed and the social safety nets that had provided a minimum standard of living is torn to shreds. Security and equality have become relics of the past for the people. Young women, watching their families on the verge of starvation, have become easy prey for the recruiters.
The promises of work in the west and the ability to provide for their families is an opportunity the girls cannot turn down. However, once the recruiters deliver the girls and children to their destination they are forced into sex trafficking. Sold and shipped all over the world, the victims are forced to work in brothels, red light districts, massage parlors or are locked up as sex slaves. 
The author Victor Malarek is currently a senior reporter for CATV Television's W-FIVE of Canada. He spent two years researching the global human trafficking sex trade in preparation for his book "The Natashas".


Getting the Word Out

by Karen Karpinski, Director of Education

 Dear Volunteers, 

 As we close out 2014 and enter the new year I'd like to thank you for your passion and  dedication to the mission of End Slavery Tennessee and ask that you continue that same level of dedication.  With your assistance we were able to train many youth about the lures of trafficking and train professionals who encounter victims  in their work.  You gave generously when we asked for the needs of survivors; you collected gift cards; provided birthday celebrations and baby showers and generously contributed for a wonderful Christmas for every survivor. You rode, walked or helped with the Ride for Refuge and solicited many sponsors; you mentored or taught GED classes. You drove survivors to appointments,  stuffed envelopes, wrapped presents, took down shelves and carted away things, painted and decorated to make our offices warm and welcoming.  You made sure every new referral had a welcome kit and food kit to meet their immediate needs. You are truly awesome and it has been such a pleasure to work with you.  

 In this new year ESTN will be hiring a new Volunteer Manager so that I can concentrate on the advanced education so dearly needed.  I know that I can count on you to be the great volunteers we have come to depend on, but I have one request as I move on.   Please begin (or continue) to log onto our website and record your hours in the Volgistics Volunteer  Program.  Laura and I will be re-sending passwords to all of you who have not yet logged on.  This is very important to us.  Each hour that you record for volunteering is equivalent to $22.14. When we apply for grants we are able to show how you, our volunteers contribute to our bottom line.  Be as proud of what you do as we  are of you. Log your hours! Thank-you. 

How well-meaning efforts can be harmful to survivors of trauma


Written by Holly Austin Smith, author of Walking Prey.

PHILADELPHIA, April 21, 2014 — Human trafficking is one of those issues that cuts deep into the hearts of men and women across the globe, and many have vowed to take a stand against it.  As a survivor of child sex trafficking, I continue to be moved by the passion of advocates to prevent trafficking of persons and to protect victims.  Many advocates have volunteered their time, money, skills, and resources toward awareness events, educational projects, and fundraising efforts for service providers and other organizations; and I am deeply grateful for their sacrifices. However, those taking on roles of advocates must understand that survivors of trafficking and other forms of exploitation are under no obligation to do the same.

Just because a man, woman, or child has survived human trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation does not mean that this person is obligated to share that experience or sacrifice his/her time, money, expertise, or resources for the sake of raising awareness, educating or training professionals, or for any other reason even if that event or project is funded and carried out by unpaid volunteers.  Volunteers have been given the choice and opportunity to participate without pay, and survivors should be offered the same.

When a survivor is asked to share his/her story on camera or before a live audience, this person is recounting and thereby reliving that trauma again and again.  Therefore, a survivor is sacrificing not only his/her time, travel expenses, and work loss, but also he/she is potentially sacrificing his/her physical, emotional, and/or mental health.  When organizing an event or project and inviting survivors to share their stories, the organizer must, at a minimum, offer a survivor speaker/participant compensation for his/her travel expenses (and work loss, if requested); this can at least ease the difficulty of sharing such an experience.  Travel expenses include lodging, airfare, train tickets, bus passes, taxis, shuttles, parking fees, tips, car mileage, tolls, baggage fees, food, and any other fee associated with the effort to attend or participate in that event.

I must also stress to event organizers and project coordinators that survivors have more to share than just their stories; they have insight, expertise, and perspectives on the issue that need and deserve to be heard.  A survivor speaker/participant should never, ever, be pressured into telling his/her story; neither should the survivor ever be bullied into sharing more of his/her story or expertise than he/she is comfortable.  If the event organizer is paying that survivor speaker/participant for their time and expertise, then the level of participation should be negotiated according to that survivor speaker’s consulting fees and written into a contract.  This payment should not include those fees associated with travel expenses; again, travel expenses should be a mandatory minimum requirement for survivor participation.

Survivors often volunteer their time and resources in various ways to help the anti-trafficking cause as well as other causes that may not evoke as much physical, mental, and/or emotional pain or drain on them.  Nobody has the right to determine whether or not a survivor has done or is doing enough for the cause; and anyone who passes such judgment on a survivor is part of the problem.  If an advocate cannot afford to pay for a survivor’s travel expenses and work loss, then that advocate should seek other ways to bring awareness to the issue without a survivor’s story or participation.  If an advocate is seeking participation from a survivor speaker who requires consultation fees and that advocate cannot afford those fees, then that advocate should raise the money or find another way to bring survivor insight or expertise into the project.  There are books written by survivors, articles, and interviews online by survivors; survivor experts have often already sacrificed their time and resources to write down their ideas in an effort to further the anti-trafficking cause.  Advocates must be resourceful and creative in their anti-trafficking efforts.  Never, ever, bully or pressure or attempt to guilt a survivor into anything.  This is exploitation; this is exactly what we are trying to abolish.

I bring this up because, after years of working with compassionate and sensitive advocates, I have had a few limited but negative experiences in this regard.  Survivors must understand that they are not obligated to share their stories with anyone for any reason, and advocates must stand up for the rights of everyone, including survivors, even if it compromises their own anti-trafficking efforts.  Exploitation for the sake of preventing exploitation is not helpful to anyone.  Any contracts between survivor speakers and advocates should include clauses for those cases in which a survivor cannot or will not move forward with a project or event.

When it comes to collaborative projects in the state or community and any legislative efforts toward prevention of trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation and protection of victims through various services, I constantly advocate that survivors must be invited to the table – not to share their stories, but to share their perspectives and expertise for the benefit of greater society.  Without survivors, there is a very important piece of expertise missing from the conversation.  With that being said, it is often the case that survivors are employed outside this field of work and are therefore taking time unpaid from work to participate.  Survivors deserve to be paid for this time.

If the overseeing organization(s) is unable to pay survivor experts, then they should brainstorm ways in which to raise the funds.  Many community members, organizations, and agencies are willing to donate money toward anti-trafficking efforts; one way in which these funds can be used is to pay survivor experts for their participation in community, collaborative, and legislative efforts.  Again, just because a person has survived an experience of human trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation does not mean that this person is obligated to work without pay.  Be sure that, when working with survivors of any type of trauma or crime, that this relationship is collaborative, compassionate, and professional –not coercive or exploitative.

South of the City


On July 19th, local musicians, artists, and their fans gathered at the Brentwood Contemporary Music Center for a night of music and human trafficking awareness!  South of the City, put together by End Slavery Tennessee’s friend and hero Andrew Yontz, was a benefit concert for our organization with the purpose of bringing together local talent to help raise awareness and funds to fight the sex trafficking taking place in Nashville.

southofthecityWhile the audience’s ears were filled with moving song lyrics and harmonies, they were also given the opportunity to take part in live art – taking trash and scraps of unused paper, writing inspiring messages, prayers, and quotes for human trafficking survivors on them, and then pasting them to a canvas. The piece was then given to ESTN to hang in our office for every girl and survivor who passes through our halls to read.  Another art piece was also created live by Christi Getzen Schroader throughout the entire event.  The piece was entitled "We Are Not Finished."  More of Christi's work can be found at her website, Light Beneath. Other artistic talent for the event included the musicians of Jorand Minton, Cammie York, Flying Colours, and Old Friend.southofthecity art

Andrew kept the event hopping with raffle prizes, an upbeat atmosphere, and excitement! “I hope everyone who attends this event will feel equipped and inspired to find a cause in their life they are passionate about and do something about it through their gifts and talents,” said Andrew.

Derri Smith also spoke during the session and explained the mission of End Slavery Tennessee She shared the story of one of our survivors who is ready to have a voice!

Extra thanks to Andrew for all the work he did for this event, all the musical and artistic talent that preformed, and the supportive individuals who made the night a grand success!

In the News

TBI obtained indictment for Wilson County man accused in connection to ongoing sex trafficking investigation.  Read the full article here.

Read about an undercover investigation in the Interstate 24 Exit 4 area that led to the arrest of a Kentucky woman and Knoxville man, both charged with human trafficking of a 17-year old girl. 

TBI, TDT, and TDOT announce a new initiative to spot and get help for sex trafficking victims at Tennessee rest stops.  Read more.

Tennessee man sentenced to 50 years in prison on human trafficking and drug distribution charges.  Read the rest of the report here.

Tullahoma woman and man are facing 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to exchanging sex with their teenage daughter for crack cocaine. Read the full article here.

Seventeen people arrested in East Tennessee over the past week as part of an operation to address commercial sex trafficking in U.S. Read here.

Nashville man racks up 18 charges, including promoting prostitution of a juvenile and trafficking for a commercial sex act, after a Donelson motel prostitution sting.  Read more.