Human trafficking: the modern day slavery
It's called modern day slavery and it's estimated to be a $32 million dollar industry.
But human trafficking isn't just in other countries; in fact it's right here in Chattanooga.
"Trafficking is not about movement of people, although people can be moved. It's simply the use of force, fraud or coercion to force someone to commit a sex act," said Jerry Redman, Managing Senior Partner, Second Life Chattanooga. "The common misconception about the issue is that it's not an issue here, but human trafficking has been found in every zip code in the nation. It's a rural issue, it's a suburban issue and it's an urban issue."
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It's an issue that Redman says is being seen even here, in Chattanooga.
"In Hamilton County alone in the years 2009-2010 social services found over 100 cases of adults being trafficked and in the same period of time, over 25 kids being trafficked," said Redman.
But Hamilton County isn't the only one. 78 other counties reported at least one case of human trafficking in 2009 and 2010. Their ages ranging from 7 to late 40's. However Redman says the demand for children is growing.
"The explosion of pornography is one of the huge contributors to this issue because it driving people to not only view, but act on the impulses they're having because of what they're viewing," said Redman.
Human trafficking is often a hidden crime. Redman says most people are trafficked by those they have a relationship with.
"There is this grooming process that can go all the way from, you have nice eyes, where do you live. Traffickers will especially look for those who appear vulnerable," said Redman.
He says many victims could be among us, too afraid to speak out.
"We do have a problem in the us, we do have a problem in Tennessee and we do have a problem in south east Tennessee," said Redman. "But we can certainly make things much better and much harder for traffickers to commit these crimes in our area."
Tennessee and Georgia both have combated against human trafficking by putting several laws into effect and training law enforcement on how to handle those situations.