Skip to content

Majority of victims of child sex trafficking in TN are minorities; Blackburn and state leaders discuss ways to protect them

  • News

Adam Mintzer
April 24, 2024

US Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Metro Police Chief John Drake, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, NFL alumni, and others met on Wednesday to discuss ways to combat the trafficking of minority children in Tennessee.

“In Tennessee, we certainly have a large issue with human trafficking,” said TBI Director David Rausch.

According to TBI data, 500 to 600 kids go missing each month in the state and more than half of those are minorities.

“There is a target on the backs of our Black and brown boys and girls,” said Derrica Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation.

While not exhaustive, on TBI’s list of Tennessee’s missing kids 30 of the 35 kids listed are Black, Hispanic, or biracial.

“Traffickers look for vulnerability,” Wilson said.” They’re looking at our kids who are in impoverished communities, unhoused, they’re looking for those runaways, those are that are looking for love in all the wrong places.”

The US Department of State has also acknowledged the connection between race and human trafficking.

“Traffickers, in turn, factor these racial biases and stereotypes into schemes and strategies aimed at reducing their own risk of getting caught while increasing the risk of law enforcement improperly penalizing victim,” the State Department website states.

At Wednesday’s news conference, Tennessee leaders discussed the importance of bringing awareness to this issue, educating parents on virtual and physical dangers to children, and lobbying for legislation to fund local law enforcement anti-trafficking efforts.

The NFL Alumni Association members also discussed their partnership with the National Child ID Program.

The program encourages parents to record their children’s physical characteristics, fingerprints and DNA in case law enforcement needs to locate the child.

“It’s a blessing that we’re able to be here to talk, to create those resources. It’s unfortunate that we are under these circumstances. But this is progress,” said NFL alumni Brad Hopkins.

Suspect someone may be a victim of human trafficking? Call the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-855-55-TNHTH.

Photo credit: WKRN

Back To Top