What is sex trafficking?
There are several definitions of sex trafficking, but Tennessee law (T.C.A. 39-13-309) defines sex trafficking as:
“(a) A person commits the offense of trafficking a person for a commercial sex act who:
(1) Knowingly subjects, attempts to subject, benefits from or attempts to benefit from another person's provision of a commercial sex act; or
(2) Recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, purchases or obtains by any means another person for the purpose of providing a commercial sex act."
For more on Tennessee law, read the Shared Hope Protecting Innocence Challenge analysis and recommendations for Tennessee.
The term “human trafficking” is an umbrella term for various kind of exploitation of persons, including: sex trafficking, labor trafficking, child soldiery, bonded labor, and organ trafficking. For example. a victim of sex trafficking is forced to provide sexual services to the profit of his/her trafficker, a labor trafficking victim is used for his/her labor and is often overworked, physically abused and underpaid or not paid at all; and an organ trafficking victim is killed or maimed for the involuntary yielding of vital organs. All these forms of trafficking are ultimately economic exploitation of persons.
Where does sex trafficking occur?
Sex trafficking is an international humanitarian issue: no country, region, city or location is immune to this crime. Everywhere that there is demand for commercial sex, traffickers will capitalize on this demand and introduce supply of victims into the market. Consequently, sex trafficking is indiscriminate as to socio-economic status and race, but the overwhelming majority of victims in the United States are female.
Who is trafficked?
Trafficking victims are commonly young girls and are often lured into the trade between the ages of 11 and 13 years old. Boys are also trafficked, too, and while not as frequently they are of equal importance.
Who is a trafficker?
Traffickers also do not have a typical profile. A trafficker can be a parent exploiting their own children for commercial sex, a pimp who recruits and exploits vulnerable girls, or the trafficker can be part of a global crime organization involved in the trafficking of hundreds of people. It is important to note that both men and women are traffickers.
How can I identify is someone is being trafficked?
Simply being observant and understanding the red flags of trafficking is critical. For instance, in the state of Tennessee, any person under 18 who is prostituted is a sex trafficking victim. For more red flags, click here.
Who do I contact if I suspect a trafficking situation?
If you suspect someone is being trafficked, it is always best to call local law enforcement. If you want to discuss the situation or have questions, any of the following numbers can provide assistance. Each of these organizations and hotlines are staffed by professionals who can answer questions, refer callers to resources and assist victims.
What is the extent of trafficking in Memphis?
Understanding the scope of human trafficking in any location is difficult due to the illicit nature of the trade. However, a study published by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in 2011 looked at each county in Tennessee to examine the extent of child sex trafficking. Shelby County reported having over 100 cases of child sex trafficking and over 100 cases of adult sex trafficking in the 12-24 months prior to the study being published.
How can I get involved in fighting human trafficking?
There are many organizations, non-profit and governmental, that are addressing human trafficking. Depending on your strengths and interests, you can fight trafficking from many angles. Mentoring and investing in youth is an effective way to both prevent human trafficking and help those who are healing. Putting together care packages for victims recently rescued by law enforcement is another way to join the effort. Financial contributions are always welcome and are a necessary part of successfully fighting this illicit industry. There are many creative ways to contribute and we would love to hear your ideas - contact us! We often utilize the skills and gifts of interns and volunteers; email us and let us know how you think you can add to our efforts. Please, fill out the volunteer questionnaire here.
What is Restore Corps doing to fight human trafficking?
Restore Corps primarily focuses on three aspects of fighting human trafficking: , survivor/victim assistance and educating the community.
Our survivor/victim assistance revolves around each individual client. After assessing the client’s needs, we work with the client so that s/he is empowered to live life to the fullest. We have created the CARE Network, a multi-agency partnership between law enforcement, social services, educators, translators, community organizations, and faith groups that works in unison toward the rehabilitation of victims escaping the sex trade and labor traffickers. By utilizing the CARE Network, the client receives thorough and individualized wraparound services.
Restore Corps staff are available for speaking engagements and trainings. Please contact us for further information.