TBI Releases New Report
State Senators gave final approval to another bill in the legislative package designed to curb human trafficking in Tennessee. Under present law, the statute of limitations for prosecution for the offense of trafficking a child for a commercial sex act, soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor, or exploitation of a minor by electronic means is no later than 15 years from the date the child becomes 18 years old. Senate Bill 1658 extends the statute of limitations to 25 years after the child turns 18 for these offenses. The bill applies to offenses that are committed against a child on or after July 1, 2014.
On Wednesday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released a follow-up study to its 2011 report on Human Sex Trafficking and its impact on Children and Youth. This report shows that sex trafficking of minors occurs in rural and urban areas of Tennessee and has an effect in both wealthy and poor households. It was also discovered that minors who come from impoverished households may be especially vulnerable to victimization.
The follow-up study showed more cases of sex trafficking were reported by social service respondents than by law enforcement respondents. Counties that reported over 100 cases of minor sex trafficking were Coffee, Davidson, Knox and Shelby. Counties that reported 26-100 cases of minor sex trafficking were Franklin, Rutherford, Warren, Carter, Hamilton, Lawrence, Madison, Roane and Washington. Counties that reported 16-25 cases of minor sex trafficking were Bradley, Dickson, Lake, Lewis, Marshall, Montgomery, Putnam and Sevier.
As of July 2013, twelve new anti-human trafficking laws have been created to address this epidemic. Domestic issues, the drug trade, poverty and other socio-economic factors serve as catalysts for human sex trafficking. Eleven measures, including Senator Crowe’s bill, have been proposed this year by the Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition to toughen state laws, help survivors, and aid law enforcement in the quest to eradicate human trafficking in Tennessee.