Gov. Bill Haslam signed Tuesday legislation that aims to stop human trafficking in Tennessee.
The law, the legislation for which was sponsored by Rep. Jim Coley (R-Bartlett) and Sen. Beverly Marrero (D-Memphis), will require certain businesses to post a sign with information regarding the national human trafficking resource center hotline.
Affected businesses include massage parlors, spas, restaurants, taverns, hotels or clubs licensed to sell alcoholic beverages or that have a permit to sell beer; establishments required to be licensed as adult oriented; any hotel, motel or other building or establishment that has been found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be a common nuisance; airports, train stations and bus stations; welcome centers and rest areas operated by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development; and truck stops designed for and primarily used by long-haul truck drivers.
The law requires the sign must state the following: “If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave — whether it is commercial sex, housework, farm work or any other activity — call the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline to access help and services. Victims of human trafficking are protected under United States and Tennessee law.”
The sign must also state the toll-free number of the hotline and note the hotline is anonymous, confidential, available 24/7 and available to non-English speaking callers through the assistance of interpreters. Also, the hotline must be able to provide referral to services, training and general information.
According to the organizers of the “Trafficking in America Conference,” which will be held in Nashville June 10-12, an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 women and children are victims of sex trafficking crimes nationally. The organizers say that Davidson County officials confirmed at least 100 sex trafficking victims in a May 2011 TBI report.