Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has launched a new initiative that aims to increase awareness of human trafficking.
The website, www.ITHasToStop.com, features information, research, statistics, important contacts, and links for visitors to join nonprofits and other groups committed to the cause. It is designed to inform Tennesseans on what to look for, and how to act.
“Research shows this is happening in communities in big cities, and small towns from Memphis to Johnson City and all parts in between,” said Josh DeVine, Public Information Officer for the TBI. “This is an issue that impacts the state of Tennessee.”
DeVine said many people don’t realize that human trafficking occurs in Tennessee, and this new campaign aims to change that.
“When you think of human trafficking you think of a third world country,” said DeVine. “These girls are often girls from our communities who end up being lured into the system.”
The U.S. Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children confirmed human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country. The number of children bought and sold in the country for the purpose of sexual exploitation is at least 100,000, and the average age of a victim is 13.
End Slavery Tennessee is one local group that works with victims to rebuild their lives. The Executive Director said the TBI’s new campaign can make a big difference.
“Law enforcement can’t solve this problem alone,” said Derri Smith, Executive Director of End Slavery Tennessee.” No one agency can solve it. We count on people to keep eyes open and report anything suspicious they see.”
If you suspect someone might be a victim of sex trafficking, call the Tennessee Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-855-558-6484.
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