TBI raises human trafficking awareness through social media campaign

JACKSON, Tenn. — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is raising awareness this month about the ongoing issue of human trafficking.

Since 2014, through the TBI’s “It Has to Stop” campaign on social media, the agency tries to get the public involved to share resources and statistics to keep them better informed.

TBI spokesman Micheal Jones said in 2017, 54 cases of human trafficking were reported in Tennessee.

“The problem is a lot larger in Tennessee than a lot of people might think. It’s not just your major metropolitan areas, Nashville, Memphis. This is a statewide problem,” Jones said.

Jones said laws have been put in place to protect minors and also prosecute traffickers. He explains how the TBI tackles the issue.

“One is the Tennessee Human Trafficking hotline. We follow up on any leads there. Another major effort we undertake are covert operations. We’re targeting adults who are seeking to buy and sell minors for commercial sex acts,” Jones said.

The TBI urges the public to report anything you see suspicious by calling the Tennessee Human Trafficking hotline at 855-558-6484.

“These women that you see advertised online, they’re victims. They are not products to be bought and sold. A lot of these people are children,” Jones said.

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