(Nashville, TN)- “The ultimate form of depravity is when a person turns a little girl into a sex slave,” District Attorney Glenn Funk said in announcing the formation of a human trafficking unit inside the DA’s Office. Four Assistant District Attorneys have been assigned to the unit and will ensure full prosecution of human sex trafficking cases in Nashville. The move comes as the TBI creates the Middle Tennessee Human Trafficking Task Force to bring greater attention to the issue. The task force, which will include the DA’s Office, End Slavery Tennessee and several local law enforcement agencies, is currently working to secure a federal grant to assist in prosecution of offenders and services for victims.
The DA’s human trafficking unit will be led by veteran lawyer Tammy Meade, who has prosecuted more than 100 cases in Nashville, including crimes involving sex trafficking and prostitution. Most recently, she was a lead prosecutor in the murder trial for country musician Wayne Mills. General Meade’s career began in special operations with a concentration on vice crimes, including prostitution. She was also instrumental in helping to form the Hannah Project for victims. She will be joined by three prosecutors who are also committed to prosecuting the crime of human trafficking:
Assistant District Attorney Antoinette Welch has done great work in bringing public attention to the issue of trafficking and will continue to prosecute these cases. Assistant District Attorney Zoe Sams prosecutes child sexual abuse and human trafficking cases and will focus on padlocking establishments found to be involved in trafficking. Assistant District Attorney Vince Wyatt, a former trial counsel for the United States Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG), has handled a range of cases involving child rape and pornography and will work to ensure that men who buy and sell women and children are brought to justice.
“I am delighted to see the District Attorney’s Office taking a lead on this issue,” Derri Smith, executive director of End Slavery Tennessee said. “Sex trafficking is growing in the Davidson County area. We have to stop the demand and change the narrative surrounding human trafficking.” The DA’s Office will partner with End Slavery Tennessee to provide specialized
training for prosecutors and victim witness coordinators on human trafficking awareness and refer victims for aftercare.
District Attorney Funk noted that the TBI and Metro police have recently dedicated more resources to trafficking cases, and now the DA’s Office is better prepared to handle those cases as they come in. “Most people are shocked at the number of sex trafficking cases being reported across the state.” TBI Special Agent Margie Quin said. “Trafficking occurs in every zip code and the issues surrounding trafficking begin at an early age and it begins in the home.”