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Human Trafficking: Modern-Day Slavery Takes Place in TN

Human trafficking can include labor and sex trades and is defined as a form of modern-day slavery. January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. (gtrfrkbob/morguefile.com)
Human trafficking can include labor and sex trades and is defined as a form of modern-day slavery. January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. (gtrfrkbob/morguefile.com)
January 6, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Human-rights organizations increasingly are concerned about what's happening behind closed doors in homes and businesses across Tennessee.

With January being Human Trafficking Prevention Month, people such as Jenna Novak who work with victims of the practice defined as modern-day slavery want people to know the warning signs.

"You'll see signs where individuals that are working either in restaurants or nail salons are not able to look you in the eye," she said, "or they were living at the location and they're not allowed to leave that location."

Novak said sex trafficking is easier to recognize and more often reported than labor trafficking. Additional warning signs include the person in question working excessively long or unusual hours, not being allowed breaks or having unusual restrictions, and appearing in poor physical and mental health.

To request help or report suspected human trafficking, call the hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text "HELP" to "BeFree" on your cell phone.

Novak, a regional specialist for Polaris, the company that implements the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline, said it's important to take action if you suspect someone is caught in a dangerous situation.

"Pick up the phone and call the hotline number if they believe that they know of a trafficking situation, a potential trafficking victim," she said. "They can call us and they can report that to us directly."

Since 2007, the hotline has received more than 96,000 calls, and identified more than 40,000 victims.

More information is online at traffickingresourcecenter.org.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN