Groups Join Forces To Fight Human Trafficking - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Groups Join Forces To Fight Human Trafficking

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Women's organizations from Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga are joining forces to raise awareness of human trafficking in Tennessee.

At a news conference in Nashville on Thursday, a group that included former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said that trafficking is a huge problem that has gone largely unrecognized until recently.

"Many people believe human trafficking flourishes in the shadows," said Gonzales.  "But in reality, victims hide in plain sight and I think... the efforts of the groups represented here today will make a big difference to the people of Tennessee."

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn defined trafficking as the sexual exploitation of children as well as adult prostitution that involves some type of force or coercion.

Gwyn said his agency has begun training law enforcement agents across the state to recognize trafficking. Until 2011, children being prostituted in Tennessee were considered criminals.

As part of the trafficking awareness campaign, Tennessee women's groups have pooled money to advertise a statewide trafficking hot line. The number is (855) 558-6484.

(NewsChannel 5 and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved.)

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