TN GOP Takes Aim at Human Trafficking

( – Tennessee Republicans have declared “war” on human trafficking amid their special session. The Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition, alongside over a dozen Tennessee Republican lawmakers, announced their intention to curb trafficking during the midst of a contested special session, which has received attention from national outlets. In a press conference, the coalition discussed an upcoming bill that would mandate an annual report from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), further promoting awareness about the issue of human trafficking and its consequences.

SB 7088/HB7041, submitted by Senate Majority Leader Johnson and House Majority Leader Lamberth, would require a report from the TBI to detail human and child trafficking crimes in the state of Tennessee. The report would be required to give the available data from the bureau, and detail the activities of the human trafficking unit to state leadership including the governor and state legislative leadership annually in December.

Already, the bill has successfully passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. Governor Lee supports the move, which would require the TBI to create more detailed reports, and hopes it can help legislators further address the issue. Lamberth also detailed how the General Assembly had already made efforts to increase the penalty for human trafficking and child abuse, indicating how this negatively impacts all communities throughout the state.

Congressman Andy Ogles (R-TN), a federal official, joined Tennessee lawmakers in raising awareness of human trafficking and combatting it. Ogles deemed it a quest to save children and women from modern-day slavery and commended Gov. Lee and the General Assembly for making anti-human trafficking efforts a priority in their legislative agenda, emphasizing the moral, ethical, and biblical obligation to protect.

According to the TBI, 600 kids go missing each month in Tennessee, which includes runaways and trafficking. Additionally, the TBI has detailed that most children trafficked are American children. While national identity is not a factor in the concern for the threats of human trafficking, it certainly makes the issue hit closer to home for Tennesseans.

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