TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Elizabeth Todaro on Sep 1, 2013

Journal Issue Date: Sep 2013

Journal Name: September 2013 - Vol. 49, No. 9

Human trafficking is a complex issue, and while there is increased awareness about the prevalence and severity of this crime, it is still largely misunderstood. Victims are modern-day slaves, trafficked for a variety of purposes, including commercial sex, agriculture and other forced labor. They do not fit stereotypes, and while women and children make up the vast majority of victims, men are trafficked, as well. 

Laurel Bellows, immediate past president of the American Bar Association (ABA), made this issue a focus of her presidency. The ABA Task Force on Human Trafficking was created in August 2012 to mobilize the legal profession to combat human trafficking through public awareness, advocacy, training and education.

The Tennessee Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee has also formed a working group to address this issue. Utilizing resources from the ABA and partnering with other national and local organizations, the TBA will co-host events, distribute training and resource materials and participate in other outreach to raise awareness about human trafficking and roles for the legal community. Tennessee has been recognized for making significant efforts to combat human trafficking and two recent government reports help illustrate the impact of the crime and the need to respond with coordinated services. Links to both reports are below.

Tennessee Reports

Tennessee Department of Human Services Human Trafficking Services Coordination & Service Delivery Plan (2013)

TBI Report
“Tennessee Human Sex Trafficking and Its Impact on Children & Youth” (2011)

Human Trafficking Hotlines
Confidential, 24-hour, toll-free hotlines to report suspected human trafficking activity or victims and access resources including specialized victim services referrals. Hotlines serve both to help survivors and to document the existence of this unbelievable crime.

National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline
1-888-373-7888 or text to BeFree (233733)

Tennessee Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline
1-855-55-TNHTH (86484)

National Organizations & Resources

ABA Human Trafficking Task Force’s “Voices for Victims” Toolkit
The ABA toolkit was developed to assist bar associations in hosting events and panel discussions regarding human trafficking as a means to raise public awareness.

Polaris Project
Polaris Project is a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Its work includes advocating for stronger federal and state laws, providing training and technical assistance and client services, including operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline.

BLUE Campaign (Department of Homeland Security)
The Blue Campaign was launched to coordinate and enhance efforts to address human trafficking and is organized around the “three Ps” of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000: Prevention, Protection and Prosecution.

State Regional & Local Organizations

End Slavery Tennessee
End Slavery Tennessee works to provide victims and their advocates
a single point of contact to services
and support.

Operation Broken Silence (Memphis)
Operation Broken Silence works to create a place of refuge for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation by connecting them with medical attention, counseling, education and skills training.

Second Life of Chattanooga
Second Life of Chattanooga is a founding member of the Greater Chattanooga Coalition Against Human Trafficking, connecting area service providers, community and faith-based organizations and law enforcement agencies to work together to combat sex-trafficking in the Greater Chattanooga area.

LSC-funded Legal Aid Organizations

LSC-funded programs face restrictions on providing services to a broad group of non-citizens, but those restrictions do not include the victims of trafficking. An amendment to the restrictions makes clear that all victims of domestic violence and / or human trafficking are eligible for services from an LSC-funded legal aid program. (Regulations of the Legal Services Corporation Part 1626 - Restrictions on Legal Assistance to Aliens.)

— compiled by Elizabeth Slagle Todaro

Look for These Warning Signs

Victims of human trafficking do not fit any single description. There are immense barriers to their seeking assistance but there are some red flags that may aid in identifying them. The individual(s):

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
  • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
  • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
  • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
  • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
  • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g., opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras).

— Adapted from Polaris Project