Tennessee police, non-profits to receive training on sex trafficking from TBI

Tennessee police, non-profits to receive training on sex trafficking from TBI

October 19th, 2011 by Beth Burger in Local - Breaking News

Mark Gwyn, director of the TBI

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Law enforcement and non-profits will receive training from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation beginning tomorrow on human sex trafficking, said Mark Gwyn, director of TBI.

"The numbers speak for themselves. Eighty-five percent [of Tennessee counties] reported a human sex trafficking case in the last 24 months," Gwyn said, citing a recent study mandated by the Legislature. "That's a huge problem.

"You have to understand there's been very little training in this arena. 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 a hotline to be created 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."

In Hamilton County there were as many as 100 cases reported of human sex trafficking, according to the study.

"This area, being so close to Atlanta, which seems to be the hub - we really have to pay close attention to this area of the state," Gwyn said.

To reach the hotline call, 1-855-55-TNHTH (86484)

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.