In 2015, the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking educated more than 800 people in the Knoxville community and equipped them with the knowledge to recognize, respond to, and report instances of human trafficking. Law enforcement officials, which includes both police officers and courtroom officials, were also trained to recognize this victimization. They are learning to discern between a person who has committed a crime, like prostitution, and a person in need of help, like a victim of human trafficking.
As a result, and in partnership with the CCAHT Anti-Trafficking Task Force, our local law enforcement identified three times as many trafficking victims in 2015 than in the previous three years combined. Our law enforcement officials are learning to see, and they are learning what the next steps are to ensure victims have a safe place to go where they can receive the care they need.
But the question is, where is that exactly?
Governor Haslam’s Plan
In 2013, Governor Haslam set into motion his Tennessee Human Trafficking Services Coordination and Service Delivery Plan. In coordination with Governor Haslam’s plan, Tennessee will move to a regional, single-point-of-contact system to ensure that quality services are provided to human trafficking survivors in the most effective and efficient way possible. The Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking has been selected as the identified partner for East Tennessee.
Along with three other selected organizations across the state, CCAHT will form a regionally responsive partnership to collectively address the needs of human trafficking survivors and ensure each survivor has access to quality services. The organizations selected to represent the three other regions of Tennessee include Restore Corps in Memphis, End Slavery Tennessee in Nashville, and Second Life in Chattanooga.
Expanding CCAHT’s Service Delivery Model
As part of this statewide effort, CCAHT is now launching a plan to open a residential facility for survivors of human trafficking in 2017. Through this initiative, CCAHT will provide survivors with short- and long-term housing, counseling and mental health care, job skills and life skills, and holistic case management.
In a recent statement, CCAHT Executive Director Kate Trudell shared, “We have only just begun this fight to address the human trafficking epidemic in East Tennessee. This crime is far too complex; it is too insidious. We are excited to collaborate with the other identified partners to provide restorative services to survivors of human trafficking.”
In order to best serve residents with a survivor-centered approach, CCAHT is working with organizations at the state and national levels to understand best practices with regard to client-focused care. Identifying which models are employing these best practices and learning from those models will help CCAHT build a program that prioritizes each survivor and each survivor’s unique restorative path above all else.
Human trafficking is a multibillion-dollar industry plaguing all parts of the world, including East Tennessee. This challenge exists here, in our own community, in our own neighborhoods. To learn more about volunteer opportunities with CCAHT and other ways to get involved in the anti-trafficking movement, contact Kate Trudell, CCAHT Executive Director, by phone at (865) 236-1046 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.