In a recent press conference held in Nashville, Tennessee, a coalition of Republican representatives voiced their commitment to combatting human trafficking within the state. This announcement was made during a special session that has garnered significant national attention.
The Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition, a prominent conservative advocacy group, organized the press conference. It was attended by numerous Republican members from both the state House and Senate. The event was held in the historic Supreme Court chamber in Nashville and coincided with protests at the capitol by left-leaning groups advocating for gun control.
Central to the discussion was a proposed bill aimed at increasing awareness about human trafficking in Tennessee. The legislation mandates an annual report from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) on the matter. House Majority Leader William Lamberth emphasized the need to bring the issue to the forefront, urging collaboration between the TBI, law enforcement, and the legislature.
The proposed bill, identified as SB 7088, has garnered the support of both Lamberth and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson. Johnson issued a stern warning to those involved in human trafficking, stating, “If you’re engaging in child and human sex trafficking in Tennessee, we’re coming after you.”
Congressman Andy Ogles also weighed in, asserting that there is a moral and biblical imperative to combat trafficking.
The bill’s summary indicates that it would require the TBI to provide a comprehensive report on child and human trafficking trends within the state. This would be based on available data and would also detail the current initiatives of the bureau’s human trafficking unit.
Aaron Gulbransen, the executive director of the Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition, described human trafficking as a pressing issue that occurs closer to home than many might think. He expressed the coalition’s dedication to rescuing victims and eradicating this menace.
The TBI has previously reported that up to 600 children go missing in Tennessee each month. While some are runaways or are involved in complex situations, others fall victim to trafficking. The agency has also clarified that most trafficked children in the state are not foreign nationals but are born and raised in Tennessee.