Exposing East Tennessee’s dark secret: Families sell children for sex – WVLT
The profile of a human trafficking survivor and victim is often misunderstood. Not just their age, but how they come to find themselves being sold for sex.
It’s true, Knoxville’s interstates provide traffickers a direct route from southern states to the north. But experts say the convenient infrastructure that brings people to East Tennessee isn’t the only culprit.
Family members, fueled by drug addiction, are selling children for sex straight from their East Tennessee homes. This chilling scenario makes up an alarming amount of the coalition’s cases.
“It happened to grandma, it happened to mom, and it’s happening to the daughter because that’s how families got by – that’s how they survived,” explained Kate Trudell, Executive Director of the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
Trafficking is especially prevalent in rural communities. The coalition points to a 2011 assessment from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation which found 85 percent of Tennessee counties reported at least one case of sex trafficking. Familial trafficking is the primary reason for sex trafficking in rural communities, the coalition reported.