Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tennessee Sex Trafficking Report

The Tennessee State Assembly released a report yesterday created by The Center of Community Services at Vanderbilt University, in association with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation that I find shocking. It was featured on the evening news, but I have no idea if the report was nationwide. I would assume that other states have released similar reports about their own areas.

I find this report disturbing because it is about sex trafficking, and it is not the kind of thing you would expect to be happening in a place like Tennessee. There are a few high crime areas in the state, but the report states that 85 percent of Tennessee's 95 counties have a problem with sex trafficking. Prostitution is sometimes referred to as the second oldest profession, and it has been with us since the beginning of time. All towns of any size have a problem with prostitution, but the information released by the Vanderbilt study involves the sale and exploitation of young women and minors in a manner that can only be described as slavery.

Law enforcement studies have discovered that most states that have Interstates have a problem with major crime. Organizations that make arrangements for business conventions select cities that are readily accessible to interstate traffic and also to entertainment. Nashville, Atlanta, Memphis, and other southern cities provide the necessary services to meet those needs. Organized crime is ready, able, and willing to exploit the opportunity for profit.

Many of the young people involved in sex trafficking are runaways who fled abusive homes. The report states that one in four runaways fall victim to these crimes in the first 48 hours. There are also instances of children being snatched off the street and 'disappearing' into the system. They are forced to comply by physical punishment, drugs, and threats directed toward their family and loved ones. There is also the Stockholm syndrome that comes into play after they have been imprisoned for a few weeks.

The Tennessee report is rather lengthy and contains many graphs that are of little interest to the general public. You might want to read the introduction on page five for an understanding of the results of the study. There are two case studies included in the report that I think many of you will find interesting. Carrie's story on page 39 and Rachel's story on page 42 of the report. Read carefully through them and see if there is anything you can do to help solve this challenging problem.

No comments: