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The Soroptimist host seminar on human trafficking issue Feb. 18

The Franklin chapter of Soroptimist International is sponsoring a free public forum entitled “Exposing the Ugly Truth” Tuesday, Feb. 18 to raise awareness of human trafficking and sexual slavery in the Middle Tennessee area.  
The forum will be held at 7 p.m. in Otey Hall of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Franklin with doors opening at 6:30p.m. Matthew Villamain from End Slavery Tennessee will speak on the widespread sexual slavery trade and its deep impact on the victims and our local communities.
A Congressional Research Service report on child sex trafficking, concluded “it is more profitable for a trafficker to prostitute a child than to commit other crimes such as dealing in drugs.”  
Children are more reusable than adults, and the internet has allowed traffickers to reach a wider clientele and connect more quickly with buyers, according to Vilamain.
Trafficking victims can be sold 10 to 15 times a day, 6 days a week, adding up to between 9,300 and 14,000 times a year. Even more shocking are the statistics about the number of children involved.
According to the latest figures at least 1,500 children are trafficked into Tennessee each year for the sole purpose of sexual slavery. According to Mark Gwynn, TBI director, “Human trafficking and sex slavery in Tennessee is more common than previously believed possible”. In fact, statistics show that human trafficking is a larger, more widespread problem in Tennessee than gangs.
Children are certainly the most vulnerable, as they are easier to control, manipulate and coerce by older adults. A 2011 Department of Justice study confirmed that 54% of sex trafficking victims were below the age of 18.  And 76% were from working and middle class households.  The average age of entry into prostitution was 13 for girls and 12 for boys.

Posted on: 2/6/2014


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