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Reports and tips of Human Trafficking on the rise in Tennessee

Human Trafficking Awareness Week kicks off July 24-30
Human Trafficking 2
Posted at 7:25 AM, Jul 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-24 09:50:27-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — About 40 million people are being trafficked worldwide and in 2020 there were 165 human trafficking cases reported in Tennessee.

In the United States, on average, every two minutes a child is bought or sold for sex according to End Slavery Tennessee.

End Slavery Tennessee reports the average age of entry into trafficking is 12-14 years old in Tennessee.

The group knows there are a lot of misconceptions about Human Trafficking and what it is too.

End Slavery Tennessee describes it as the exploitation of humans for the purposes of sexual or labor servitude, so something of value is exchanged.

An example would be money, food, housing, and drugs. Force, fraud, or coercion must be present for people over 18.

The organization is the single point of contact for human trafficking survivors and victims in the state.

They try to care for survivors as they overcome their trauma.

“I think if we begin to break down most especially the psychological factors that come in play of saying there is a future, we can then begin to work towards what those goals look like for each individual. That really is our goal,” End Slavery Tennessee Chief Operating Officer Leah Moyer said.

Human Trafficking Awareness Week kicks off July 24-30. The Tennessee Department of Health and community partners are coming together to raise awareness.

They will participating in the Red Sand Project.

Communities across the state will be creating art installations by pouring natural, non- toxic red sand in sidewalk cracks as well as hosting educational events and providing resources.

To find a Red Sand Project event near you, please reach out to your local health department or visit a local Welcome Center.

The Red Sand Project is an interactive art exhibition designed to bring awareness, recognize, and help to end human trafficking.

The red sand in the sidewalk installations is created to show how human trafficking survivors have fallen in the cracks in society.

The TBI provided NewsChannel 5 with 2022 data from the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline.

As of June 30th, 635 tips or calls have been called in.

In 2021, there were 1,235 calls.

As of July 20, End Slavery Tennessee has had 173 victim referrals in 2022.

The group is on track to break a record for referrals received in a year; it was 309 in 2019.

So far in 2022, their youngest victim referral has been 6-years-old and the oldest is 59-years-old.

End Slavery Tennessee is thinks it's great the state is raising awareness about Human Trafficking and they’re doing it every day.

The organization does train people on how to recognize the red flags.

“Obviously awareness and understanding of what this issue is and training those front-line professionals to be able to recognize the red flags that could be in front of them is important. Knowing what to do if they do see that. Where to report, who they can call, and obviously we're that that resource. We operate a 24/7 on call system for the state of Tennessee," Moyer explained.

If you suspect someone may be a victim of human trafficking, call the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-855-55-TNHTH.