New Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking in Tennessee
According to a piece in the Nashville City Paper, Nashville will become home to the 19th Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking Coalition, a program of the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
According to an expert with the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services (HHS), there are more victims of human trafficking and sex slavery in Nashville than local and even federal authorities are aware of.
But because trafficking victims are “brainwashed” into believing they will be subject to even worse abuse at the hands of U.S. authorities who will treat them like criminals, the majority of trafficking victims continue to deny they are being held against their will even after they are discovered and their captors are arrested.
“Trafficking victims do not come forward on their own,” said Martha Newton, the director of HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which outside of the U.S. State Department is the country’s highest office dealing directly with the victims of human trafficking for sex or labor slavery.
Even though multiple brothels in Nashville with prostitutes that are exclusively foreign nationals of Latin American countries have been the target of a statewide FBI investigation into possible sex slavery at the hands of an indicted Mexican national have yet to produce any new, confirmed cases of human trafficking, Newton said she is sure the cases are there nonetheless.
Newton says that more than 30 organizations in the Nashville area “who can assist with identifying human trafficking in the Nashville area that will be coming together that day, including law enforcement, ethnic and faith-based groups and heath care and social service providers.” She also states that “HHS, the U.S. State Department and the local FBI office are already aware that human trafficking victims have been brought and forced to work in Nashville.”
Update: More coverage of this issue in the Nashville City Paper.