Tennessee bill would add a code to human traffickers' driver's licenses

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Posted at 5:34 AM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 10:46:44-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Tennessee Senate passed a bill (SB 2592) requiring all Tennesseans who are convicted of human trafficking to have a two-number code on the back of their driver's licenses. Next, it waits for passage in the Tennessee House.

"It’s one of the bills that nobody was really opposed to. It's hard to be opposed to us doing something to make human trafficking less available and more penalties for it," explained Senate bill sponsor Senator Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald.

He said the code would make it easy for law enforcement and others checking licenses, such as restaurant servers and bartenders, to be on the lookout for trafficking.

"Maybe they see children in the car or they see a person in the car that looks suspicious. They can look at the driver's license and tell that then they maybe need to to check further into the individual," said Hensley.

Other codes exist for the endorsement section of Tennessee licenses such as ones for sex offenders and DUIs, so the code for human traffickers would add to the list.

The Tennessee Senate passed a bill (SB2592) requiring all Tennesseans convicted of human trafficking to have a two number code on the back of their drivers licenses, next it waits for passage in the TN House.

As of Thursday, the Tennessee the Department of Correction reported 34 people are currently serving time either in state custody or on community supervision for a human trafficking charge and would need the change to their license.

"As long as somebody has been convicted, and that hasn't been expunged from the record, it [the code] would still be on there," Hensley said.

The code for human trafficking will be discussed if the bill is passed. Hensley said the cost to implement the new code would be about $20,000.

"This is just one other way that we can hopefully cut down on human trafficking and save some people that have been involved in it," he said.

If the bill passes in the House, it would become law on July 1. Hensley said a vendor would need to set up the program and he hoped new licenses would roll out by the end of 2022.

To learn the bill's latest status, visit the state website.