Human Trafficking Presence in TN
Presence of Human Trafficking
The TBI reported in their 2019-2020 Annual Report that Human Trafficking Analysts processed 829 human trafficking tips in that fiscal year (TBIAnnualReport2019-2020.pdf (tn.gov)). Approximately 65 percent of those tips involved minors.
Trafficking cases have been identified in every state of the United States. Every race, age, gender, religion, nationality, and sexual orientation can be a target. According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries. In the United States, a minor is bought or sold for sex every two minutes, on average (Human Trafficking (tn.gov)). In TBI’s 2020 annual reportevery single county, urban and rural, in Tennessee reported cases of trafficking. Vanderbilt and the TBI are currently working on an updated version of the in depth 2013 report they published on sex trafficking of minors. They anticipate it should be completed by July 2022.
Currently, it is not possible to accurately report the number of human trafficking incidents in Tennessee. There is no common reporting system or method to aggregate the number of victims.
Also, the reality is that numbers are only based on trafficking incidents that are reported or discovered which does not accurately represent all the current cases that go unseen.
There are some estimates that could be used to index the growth or decline of human trafficking in the state. The Polaris Project (Polaris | We Fight to End Human Trafficking (polarisproject.org)) published that 180 cases of human trafficking were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in Tennessee in 2019.