Brentwood Rotary will host its monthly meeting on July 14th at 11:45am at the Fifty Forward Martin Center, located at 960 Heritage Way in Brentwood. During the July meeting, End Slavery will share information about human trafficking with the community.
End Slavery is a middle Tennessee organization whose mission is to “promote healing of human trafficking survivors and strategically confront slavery in our state.”
Here are some statistics from End Slavery
-94 children are trafficked each month in Tennessee
-Average age to be trafficked is between 12-14 years old
-Human trafficking crosses all racial lines
-A run away is lured into trafficking within 48 hours of leaving home
-People can be sold repeatedly- often a child, who if trafficked, will be sold 10-20 times a day
-80% of victims are female
Through the efforts of End Slavery, they have become the single point of contact for the TBI in the Middle Tennessee area. Meaning, when TBI steps in to rescue a victim, End Slavery is there as well to offer support to the victim immediately after the rescue.
Recent legislation (outlined below) now makes this crime a minor felony: stating that a defendant cannot claim that the victim was a consenting minor, as minors lack the capacity of consenting to sex with an adult.
HB 2241/SB 1748– For the offense of promotion of prostitution the defendant cannot claim that the subject of the offense is a law enforcement officer or the victim is a consenting minor as a defense.
HB 2326/SB 1815– Makes prostitution punishable as trafficking. Increases penalty for patronizing a prostitute who is under 18 from a Class E felony to a Class A felony. Increases penalty for patronizing a prostitute with an intellectual disability from a Class E felony to a Class B felony. Prohibits certain defenses to prostitution.
With these new laws on the books, Tennessee is now one of the toughest prosecuting states in the nation. TBI reports that “as of November, 2013, Tennessee was ranked as the toughest state in the nation regarding the state statutes protecting children from commercial sexual exploitation crimes. Shared Hope International graded Tennessee with a 93.5, which was a result of 18 new pieces of legislation passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in the past 24 months. If there is a possible score of 100, then there are clearly areas that can still be improved. When gauging the importance of this crime against others, it must be recognized that the stakes are Tennessee’s kids. Is there any reason why Tennessee shouldn’t be the most difficult place in the nation in which to harm a child?”
There is still more work to be done to eliminate human trafficking in our area.
Be sure to attend the Brentwood Rotary Club meeting where you can learn more about how to make a difference in your community. To attend the meeting, please RSVP to Steve Grissim on the Rotary Club of Brentwood website.