On Thursday, November 9 we reported that an undercover human trafficking operation conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Brentwood Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and the office of 21st District Attorney General Kim Helper resulted in mostly felony indictments for 22 men in a targeted effort to identify individuals attempting to purchase illicit sex from minors.
As part of the operation, undercover male Agents responded to advertisements on Backpage.com in an effort to identify and recover potential victims of human trafficking. Two women responded, but declined services offered through End Slavery, a local partner nonprofit agency.
On Friday, we stopped by the End Slavery office to speak with Founder/CEO Derri Smith to talk more about End Slavery’s involvement with the operation and how we, as a community in Williamson County, are not removed from human trafficking.
On Sunday evening, Brentwood Baptist held an event led by TBI special agent Rick Stout regarding human trafficking where they shared the realities of human trafficking. Below are the red flags or indicators that someone may be a victim of human trafficking as shared on the End Slavery website. If you know of someone who may be a victim, contact the Tennesee Human Trafficking Hotline at 855-558-6484.
- Has injuries or other signs of abuse and is reluctant to explain them.
- Appears malnourished.
- Branded or marked with a tattoo, such as a man’s name, symbol of money, or a barcode.
- Dressed in a provocative manner or in the same clothes, regardless of weather or circumstance.
- Has very few personal possessions.
- Has an unexplained, sudden increase in money, clothing, or possessions like jewelry without explanation.
- Doesn’t carry identification.
- Has a number of hotel keys or key cards.
- Has a prepaid cell phone.
- Fears authority figures.
- Claims to be an adult, though their appearance suggests adolescence.
- Seems to move frequently from place to place.
- Talks about an older boyfriend or sex with an older man.
- Has inconsistencies in their story.
- Claims to be visiting, and can’t state what city they’re in or for how long.
- Isn’t able to speak for themselves.
- Has sexually explicit profiles on social networking sites.
- Is not enrolled in school or is consistently absent.
- Seems to be withdrawn, depressed, or “checked out.”
LACK OF CONTROL
- Accompanied by someone who seems to control their every move.
- Seems scripted in the way they speak.
- Doesn’t have control over their own money.
- Can’t come and go from place to place on their own.