Forum Fights Trafficking

With the rise of sex trafficking in Tennessee, which predominantly threatens the safety and well-being of women and girls, The Women’s Fund Forum hosted the second in a series of educational forums on sex trafficking in our state.

The Women’s Fund Forum, presented by First Tennessee and Verizon, took place last month at Lipscomb University’s Ezell Center. The Women’s Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee supports nonprofits serving Middle Tennessee women and girls in need.

According to a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation 2011 report, in Davidson County alone there were more than 100 cases of sex trafficking of minors reported in a year, with one case often representing multiple victims. In the same period, Shelby, Knox and Coffee counties each reported at least 100 cases of similar trafficking, and 72 percent of all Tennessee counties reported at least one case of trafficking of minors.

“Human trafficking is an unfortunate reality all across Tennessee and community discussions like The Women’s Fund Forum help raise necessary awareness,” said Margie Quin, assistant special agent in charge of the TBI. “We need to continue to look at ways to address this issue, including the treatment and care of victims of human trafficking.”

Moderator Randy Spivey of Lipscomb University’s Institute for Law, Justice and Society, led panelists Ryan Dalton, co-founder of Rescue Forensics; Rachel Freeman, vice president of Clinical Services, Sexual Assault Center; Margie Quin from TBI; Derri Smith of End Slavery Tennessee; and Rep. Mark White as they delved into the societal reasons that young women end up being trafficked and highlighting the continuum of care for those impacted by human trafficking.