Tennessee ramped up its criminal penalties for human traffickers this year with an unprecedented slate of law changes, but rehabilitative services for survivors remain disjointed and reliable incident data remain elusive. A new state study – Human Trafficking Services Coordination and Service Delivery Plan – finds that Tennessee communities don’t have sufficient services designed specifically for trafficking survivors. They often need housing, relocation assistance, transportation and legal aid.
Officials recommend that victims receive face-to-face visits from a trained counselor within four hours of the discovery of an incident. And, for the first time, the study says specifically that two state agencies — the Department of Human Servicesand the Department of Children’s Services — will be responsible for assigning staff members to coordinate help for adults and children, respectively. Nongovernmental organizations also will be chosen across Tennessee to keep up regular face-to-face contact with survivors.
“If it comes to pass, it will make a major difference in the survivor arena,” said Yvonne Williams, president of the Trafficking In America Task Force. “(The plan) looks extremely comprehensive.”
Learn more at Tony Gonzalez’s The Tennessean article: Human trafficking survivors in TN need more help, report finds.