Anti-trafficking organization Hope for Justice has unveiled plans to open an Investigative Center in the Nashville area to assist in the rescue and restoration of human trafficking victims.
The Tennessee Investigative Center will work closely with law enforcement, other government agencies and Victim Service Providers across the state. Staffed by a specialist team of experienced investigators, the new Center will prioritize partnership working to end trafficking.
US Director and former head of anti-trafficking for the FBI’s Civil Rights Unit, Dave Rogers said,
“Law enforcement agencies in Tennessee – and throughout the US – are focusing most of their investigative efforts on identifying sex trafficking, particularly of minors. As a result, many agencies acknowledge a gap in their understanding and investigations into labor trafficking.
The Tennessee Investigative Center will be at the forefront of developing strategies to address labor trafficking as well as assisting law enforcement on sex trafficking cases”.
Where appropriate, Hope for Justice will carry out investigations in coordination with law enforcement agencies, never in competition with them. The Center will aim to provide actionable intelligence for law enforcement and/or for the safe rescue of victims and will work in a manner that ensures intelligence gathered is admissible in court. Hope for Justice will also act as a secondary avenue for clients, who may be fearful of the authorities, to safely report potential trafficking situations.
Raising awareness is key to tackling this hidden crime and training will be central to success. Investigators from the Center will assist local law enforcement in the training of their personnel and will also train non-profits working with at-risk populations. Topics will include human trafficking in the US today, the indicators of trafficking and best practices for the investigation of such cases. Referrals from those trained will be a starting point for the Center’s investigations.
By establishing vital, state-wide relationships with partner organizations the Tennessee Investigative Center will create a state-wide capability for the rescue of enslaved individuals.
In continuing to build a collaborative network with Victim Service Providers, the Department of Children’s Services, the juvenile court system, trauma counselling centers, drug treatment facilities, youth advocacy centers and others, Hope for Justice plans to be able to place rescued victims into specialized care to recover from the trauma induced by trafficking.
Human trafficking is a global issue with an estimated 20.9 million slaves worldwide but a local issue too – Hope for Justice’s Tennessee Investigative Center aims to serve in-state victims.