published Thursday, October 20th, 2011

TBI training course targets sex trafficking in Tennessee

Chair of the Women's Fund of Greater Chattanooga Lorie Street Mallchok speaks at a news conference in Chattanooga on Wednesday announcing the launch of a new hotline dedicated to reporting human sex trafficking. A press release generated by the Women's Fund of Greater Chattanooga says that a study performed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Venderbilt Center for Community Studies revealed 26-50 cases of human sex trafficking in Hamilton County within the past 24 months.
Chair of the Women's Fund of Greater Chattanooga Lorie Street Mallchok speaks at a news conference in Chattanooga on Wednesday announcing the launch of a new hotline dedicated to reporting human sex trafficking. A press release generated by the Women's Fund of Greater Chattanooga says that a study performed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Venderbilt Center for Community Studies revealed 26-50 cases of human sex trafficking in Hamilton County within the past 24 months.
Photo by Alex Washburn.

SEX TRAFFICKING HOTLINE


To reach the hotline, call 1-855-558-6484.

  • photo
    Sandra Hollett, Executive Director of the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults, speaks at a press conference in Chattanooga on Wednesday announcing the launch of a new hotline dedicated to reporting human sex trafficking. A press release generated by the Women's Fund of Greater Chattanooga says that a study performed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Venderbilt Center for Community Studies revealed 26-50 cases of human sex trafficking in Hamilton County within the past 24 months.
    Photo by Alex Washburn /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

  • photo
    Bobby Dodd, Chattanooga Police Chief, takes questions from the media at a press conference in Chattanooga on Wednesday announcing the launch of a new hotline dedicated to reporting human sex trafficking. A press release generated by the Women's Fund of Greater Chattanooga says that a study performed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Venderbilt Center for Community Studies revealed 26-50 cases of human sex trafficking in Hamilton County within the past 24 months.
    Photo by Alex Washburn /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Local law enforcement officers and nonprofit organizations will receive training on human sex trafficking from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation beginning today, authorities say.

"The numbers speak for themselves. Eighty-five percent [of Tennessee counties] reported a human sex-trafficking case in the last 24 months," TBI Director Mark Gwyn said at a Wednesday news conference where he cited a recent study mandated by the Legislature.

"You have to understand there's been very little training in this arena," he said. "We go across the state and train every law enforcement officer, which is our goal, those numbers are even going to go higher."

The Legislature also authorized the creation of a hotline for victims to receive help and reach safety. The hotline was launched statewide on Oct. 1.

"It's an anonymous hotline. Everything is completely anonymous. We want everyone to feel comfortable calling this hotline," Gwyn said. "TBI is involved, but the information will be kept confidential."

Margie Quin, assistant special agent in charge at TBI, coordinated the statewide study. One point raised by the study was there needs to be better communication between local organizations and law enforcement, she said.

"Nothing prohibits them [nonprofits] from calling the police department and saying, 'Hey, we're the rape crisis center, and we want you to know we have three sex-trafficking victims,'" she said. "At least the department knows there are victims."

To date, there have been no reports of human sex trafficking made to Chattanooga Police Department, officials say, although the statewide survey said Hamilton County had numerous cases reported.

Local law enforcement has traditionally encountered prostitution and cases of human trafficking for slave labor as issues. There are no documented cases of sex trafficking to date.

"We do have problems here, but the ones we deal with here are hometown prostitutes," Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd said.

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Normajeana said...

According to the Federal Government statistics (available from the Justice Department website), in 2010, Tennessee had 2,138 forcible rapes, of which 335 alleged rapists were arrested, or 16% of the violent individuals who committed rapes for which there were actual victims who went to the police, filed a report and waited for justice. Meanwhile, Tennessee made 2,387 arrests for prostitution- of individuals ("victims"???) who had not called the police or asked for help. Also- on September 15, 2010, the National Census of Domestic Violence Services reported that Tennessee had 1,002 cases of domestic violence on that date, where victims sought assistance from shelters and other services in your state. That doesn't mean that's all there were, it means that's the cases which were reported on that one particular day in Tennessee. The total number of domestic violence cases for Tennessee in 2010 were 85,070. Surely your scarce resources would be better spent pursuing and prosecuting actual violent criminals who rape others than in pursuing consenting adults who may be engaging in commercial sex? While there may be some who are coerced into prostitution, the majority of prostitutes are NOT victims of sex trafficking and do not need 'rescuing.' But those who have been victims of domestic violence and/or rape and have asked for help really do need those scarce resources allocated to assist them. Pursue and prosecute criminals where a victim has asked for help before you spend resources 'helping' those whom you presume are victims because you don't approve of the work they do. Allow those who are victims of sex trafficking to have access to the criminal justice system in the same way that domestic violence and rape victims do. You don't presume a woman is a victim of domestic violence just because she is married, or that she has been raped just because she has had sex with someone to whom she is not married...why do you presume a woman is a victim of sex trafficking just because she sells something she can otherwise give away to anyone she wants? As the old saying goes, "don't call us- we'll call you... when we need or want your help..."

October 20, 2011 at 2:01 p.m.
Legend said...

What about when the victimizers are the ones who are supposed to be trained to help? Who do you turn to then?

October 20, 2011 at 7:02 p.m.
EagleEye69 said...

As I said before, I would like for someone to show me an actual case, So far all I have seen are smoke and mirrors for someone's agenda. Take the names out to protect the innocent and show us a case of "Human Sex Traffic" in Chattanooga.

October 21, 2011 at 9:42 p.m.
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