Assessing the Need
In 2009, founding members of the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking (CCAHT) conducted a research study with key community stakeholders. Through extensive qualitative research and asset mapping, CCAHT identified a key gap in services for counter-trafficking directives and survivors of human trafficking in the Knoxville area.
Growing the Movement
Having assessed the need for counter-trafficking directives in East Tennessee, the nine founders officially established CCAHT, emphasizing the desire to accomplish CCAHT’s mission without duplicating services that already existed in East Tennessee at the time. As a result, CCAHT’s mission of uniting and equipping Knoxville and East Tennessee to end modern-day slavery would be accomplished by strengthening existing programs (law enforcement, direct services, etc.) through awareness, education, and training rather than by needlessly duplicating those programs.
Strengthening the Force
For the first four years of operation, CCAHT was run entirely by volunteers. Upon receiving a seed grant from Equitas Group in 2014, CCAHT hired its first paid employee, Kate Trudell, as full-time Executive Director in December of that year. In 2015, Kate’s first full year on staff, CCAHT established and for the first time officially convened the counter-trafficking Task Force, identifying and serving more survivors of human trafficking than in the past three years combined.
Coordinating the Response
Over the next year and a half, the response to human trafficking in East Tennessee and across the state gained momentum. In 2013, Governor Haslam had created the Tennessee Human Trafficking Services Coordination and Service Delivery Plan, a statewide plan for delivering services to survivors of human trafficking. In coordination with this plan, Governor Haslam appointed the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) the lead agency for all human trafficking crimes in the state of Tennessee.
Identifying Regional Partners
In 2016, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation identified four nonprofits across the state – one in each of the TBI divisions – to act as single-point-of-contact agencies for all human trafficking cases. This meant that moving forward, all human trafficking referrals in Tennessee would funnel through these four organizations to ensure that quality services would be provided to survivors of human trafficking in the most effective and efficient way possible.
CCAHT was chosen as the regional partner for upper East Tennessee.
Expanding Our Role
As part of its new role as the single-point-of-contact agency for upper East Tennessee, CCAHT was tasked with opening a safe house for survivors in Knoxville. Up to this point, the only beds for survivors of human trafficking were located in middle Tennessee.
CCAHT launched plans to open its safe house with the goal of having it open by the fall of 2017. Along with this initiative, CCAHT launched a new brand identity for the direct services piece of its four-point mission. This new brand identity would be client-facing and would better convey to the community the work and mission of the Coalition.
And Grow Free Tennessee was born.
We are uniting and equipping our community to end modern-day slavery.
We accomplish this through:
We are the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
CCAHT + Grow Free Staff
CCAHT Board of Directors
PICU Medical Director
ETN Children’s Hospital
Heska Amuna Synagogue
Great Schools Partnership
Matthew Shepard Foundation
Special Crimes Unit
Knoxville Police Dept.
City of Knoxville
Our values underlie all we do, informing how we approach our work and accomplish our mission.