Preying on vulnerable people for profit and sexual gratification is happening in Tennessee, and activists and law enforcement agencies are once again stepping up efforts to stop human trafficking across the state.
“You Have the Power,” a Nashville-based victims’ rights organization, will host a free presentation and panel discussion on sex trafficking Wednesday, April 4, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Parliamentary Room of MTSU’s Student Union.
Scheduled panelists include Sgt. James Baskette and Detectives Jonathan Brown and Sam Day, all of the Murfreesboro Police Department’s Vice Unit; Special Agent Jason Wilkerson of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Intelligence Unit; and Candy Carter, a local subject area expert.
A 2011 TBI study reported that 17 of the 21 Tennessee counties with the highest rates of sex trafficking were rural counties. Law enforcement personnel responding to the study saw immigrants, both minors and adults, as most likely to be exploited through sex trafficking.
On a national level, the TBI report noted, a child is bought or sold for sex, on average, every two minutes. The average age of a child sold for sex is 13.
Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the country, slightly behind drug trafficking.
The TBI updated its 2011 study with even more details in 2013; you can review the PDF report here. In 2014, the agency created a new information campaign https://ithastostop.com, to raise awareness and help end human trafficking. You can watch a video from the effort below.
A parking map for Wednesday’s panel event is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap, and off-campus visitors attending the event can obtain a special one-day permit at www.mtsu.edu/parking/visit.php.
For more information, contact MTSU’s June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students at 615-898-5812 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Gina K. Logue (email@example.com)