published Monday, May 30th, 2011

Cook: Wickedest crime in our city

TBI Report
TBI Report

Celebrating the Civil War’s 150th anniversary and partying like it’s 1859, hundreds of folks traveled to the re-enactment battle in Resaca, Ga., earlier this month.

With cannon smoke in the air, wool-uniformed re-enactors tried to duplicate the war experience, right down to the buttons on their sleeves, oil in their lamps and flasks in their hip pockets. Anyone that devoted and passionate has my respect.

I just wish we could put the same sort of energy into re-enacting the abolition movement.

After all, the Civil War ended.

But slavery has not.

“Children are moved from city to city in (Tennessee) and sold as prostitutes,” the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation recently reported. “Human trafficking and sex slavery in Tennessee is more common than previously believed possible.”

Modern slavery, or human trafficking, is one of the wickedest crimes on earth today. Victims are mainly children and women, who are enslaved and forced into sexual and labor bondage.

Globally, there are nearly 27 million people enslaved, the report claims. Domestically, 300,000 children (more than all Confederate Civil War deaths) are at risk of being trafficked.

Do not picture minimum-wage workers or call girls. Instead, try to imagine an 8-year-old forced into repeated sex, sold the way dealers sell drugs.

“It is monstrous,” said Jerry Redman of Chattanooga’s Second Life. “And it is happening right here in Hamilton County.”

Redman’s group was formed four years

ago to unite the 21st century abolition movement here in our city. On Thursday, Second Life is meeting with area service providers as a way to align forces and stop what may be the greatest crime in our city.

Parents sell their own children, or runaway teens are trapped, controlled by pimps who enslave through drug addiction, abuse and terror. And customers — known as “johns” — can be as violent as any 18th-century slave owner.

“Who wants to have sex with 15 or 20 men a day?” pleaded one victim whose story was told in the TBI report, and who also claims to have been raped multiple times in multiple Tennessee cities by police officers in exchange for not going to jail. “It was a living ... hell.”

Eighty-five percent of all Tennessee counties reported one or more cases of sex trafficking in the last two years, the report says. Last July, one East Tennessee man was arrested for trafficking 400 women.

Several interstates pass through our city, creating an ominous geography prone for trafficking, authorities claim. It doesn’t help we’re near what authorities say is the worst city in America for sexual slavery.

“Atlanta is ground zero for someone wanting to have sex with a child in the United States,” said Redman, who says the city’s adult entertainment industry and multiple sporting events contribute to what is known as “sex tourism.”

Yet our state Legislature — which ordered the TBI report — is fighting back by passing recent laws that strengthen asset forfeiture for pimps and johns and increasing the crime of sex with a minor from misdemeanor to felony.

Additional laws decriminalize juvenile prostitution and fund a statewide trafficking hot line. Sources inside Nashville are also hoping the Legislature will mandate law enforcement training so police can be better equipped to spot trafficking.

On high school and college campuses in our area, many student groups are responding. Churches, generally silent as Civil War slavery raged, now have a chance to respond to modern-day injustice.

“With estimates as high as 1,100 local churches in the greater Chattanooga area, we desperately need a much larger response to this issue from the faith community,” Redman said. “What greater good could we be involved in than to help those that have been stripped of their humanity?”

David Cook can be reached at

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

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chioK_V said...

@claims to have been raped multiple times in multiple Tennessee cities by police officers in exchange for not going to jail. “It was a living ... hell.” "--Legislature will mandate law enforcement training so police can be better equipped to spot trafficking."

They should hunt the bastards down and castrate every last one of them, then place them in a jail cell with big bubba and all his brothers!

Then to add insult to injury: "Mandate law enforcement training so police can be better equipped?"

That's a joke, right? When law enforcement are often the johns and pimps themselves? The only difference, the child prostitutes don't get paid, just a small reprieve.

May 30, 2011 at 9:31 a.m.
LibDem said...

I always go to a prostitute who claims to trade sex for jail reprieve when I want testimony of high integrity and credibility.

May 30, 2011 at 12:31 p.m.
brokentoe said...

Norman Wielsch, Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Top CoCo Drug Cop Accused Of Running Brothel.

Must be a very lucrative business. Seems like most everyone's gotten into the sex trafficking prostitution trade. Wielsch didn't like the competition so he used his position as a cop to put any street prostitute, pimp and competing brothels out of business.

May 31, 2011 at 9:06 a.m.
Legend said...

Lib4, the civil war was about human trafficking AKA slavery. Get over it. The truth is the truth. No matter how you try to sanitize, clean up and glorify history after the fact, history Is what it IS.

May 31, 2011 at 10:04 a.m.
chet123 said...

lIBERTARIAN4FREEDOM...but state right was for lazy bums like you to owned slaves to make you rich know kind of like today...Your Rich and Greedy buddies making indenture servant out of working class...INCOME GAP CONTINUE TO WIDEN.MIDDLE CLASS HAVE LESS AND LESS PURCHASING POWER....SOME THING NEVER CHANGES...AND IT WILL COME TO AN END THE SAME WAY.....ALL OUT CLASS WAR THIS TIME....

June 2, 2011 at 11:03 a.m.
LibDem said...

South Carolina's "Declaration of the Immediate Causes..." of December 24, 1860 explains that the issue was a state's right to hold slaves and pursue runaways.

June 2, 2011 at 11:22 a.m.
chet123 said...

Classism is more unfair than racism...i should know ...i'm a black man

June 2, 2011 at 11:59 a.m.
chet123 said...

Its a shame that working class people 150years ago were fighting to protect the rich and greedy....2011 working class people fighting to protect rich and greedy

Civil War casualties...600,000 killed.....

June 2, 2011 at 12:05 p.m.
chet123 said...

Libertarian you say no to yankee propaganda....OH OH OH OH FORGOT YOU QUOTING FROM THE GOSPEL

June 2, 2011 at 12:07 p.m.
Haiku said...

@Libertarians4Freedom said... Lazy bums didn't own slaves,

Everyone doesn't own livestock either, but that doesn't keep them from benefitting from a good old scrambled egg, bacon and sausage.

June 2, 2011 at 2:35 p.m.
Haiku said...

---What's your point? We all benefit from something, don't we? Good looking people benefit from lucrative contracts in the fashion industry and an easier time finding work, talented web developers benefit from decent salaries

How many were placed in bondage in order for good looking people to benefit from lucrative contracts? Or for web developers to benefit from decent salaries?

I forgot, school is out. Don't you have a summer camp to run along too?

June 2, 2011 at 7:56 p.m.
chet123 said... got to be 170 years old to talk the crazy talk you consistently do..the world have passed you by fool..dont you realize the youger generation are color blind LOL white friend talk about you like a dog,,,you are basically WHITE TRASH!!lol when you said wigger(guess i'm suppose to get angry)..LOL LOL LOL dont play games JUST SAY WHAT YOU MEAN...WIGGER!WIGGER!WIGGER!LOL LOL LOL THIS IS WHAT RON REAGAN HAS PRODUCED FROM A ONE TIME GREAT POLITICAL PARTY LOL LOL,,everyone can see your true are an old hateful geezer who is miserable....its really funny to have no point to make,Libertarian...just an old hateful man with key board to spew your hate..LOL LOL you have no credibllity Bro....but please keep using word like wigger LOL LOL talk against muslim haters!..we have southern so called christian hater(yourself) who are have no power nor influence over anyone,,and the world have pass you by you old fart

June 4, 2011 at 11:36 p.m.
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