Responding to Child Victims of Human Trafficking - Tennessee

Date: December 2018

State Agency Responsibilities

Citation: Ann. Code § 71-1-135

The commissioner of human services shall establish a plan for the delivery of services to victims of human trafficking after consultation with the following departments:

  • Department of Children's Services
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
  • Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

The plan shall include, but not be limited to, provisions to do the following:

  • Identify victims of human trafficking in this State
  • Identify community-based services for victims of human trafficking
  • Prepare and disseminate educational materials and provide training programs to increase awareness of human trafficking and the services available to victims
  • Assist victims of human trafficking with family reunification

Training Requirement

Citation: Ann. Code § 38-6-114

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shall do the following:

  • Implement a course or courses of instruction for the training of law enforcement officers and other government officials who are directly involved with human trafficking, including the investigation of and the intake of human trafficking complaints
  • Develop recommended best-practice uniform protocols and procedures for law enforcement response to human trafficking

The course or courses of instruction and the guidelines shall emphasize the following:

  • The dynamics and manifestations of human trafficking
  • Identifying and communicating with victims
  • Providing documentation that satisfies the Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission requirements
  • Collaboration with Federal law enforcement officials
  • Appropriate investigative techniques for the particular victim or victim type
  • The availability of civil and immigration remedies and community resources
  • Protection of the victim

A law enforcement officer who is assigned field or investigative duties shall complete a minimum of 2 hours of training in a course or courses of instruction pertaining to the handling of human trafficking complaints. An officer must complete the required training hours within 6 months from the officer's date of employment as a full-time law enforcement officer.

In addition to the course of instruction provided to law enforcement officers, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shall develop and deliver a course of instruction designed for various agencies and departments likely to come into contact with human trafficking and human trafficking victims during the course of delivering services. The following departments, agencies, or associations are included in this course of instruction:

  • Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, including juvenile court administrators, juvenile court youth services officers, and juvenile court probation officers
  • Department of Children's Services
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
  • Department of Safety
  • Department of Labor and Workforce Development
  • District Attorneys General Conference
  • District Public Defenders Conference
  • Office of the Attorney General and Reporter
  • Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Tennessee Sheriffs' Association
  • Tennessee Judicial Conference
  • Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference
  • Clerks of Court Conference

In developing the course of instruction, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shall consult with the Human Trafficking Task Force or individual members of the task force. Furnishing personnel and appropriations for the training course is the sole responsibility of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The departments, agencies, or associations listed above shall be provided the training at no cost to the department, agency, or association.

Diversion From Prosecution

Citation: Ann. Code § 39-13-513

Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, if it is determined after a reasonable detention for investigative purposes that a person suspected of or charged with prostitution is younger than age 18, that person shall be immune from prosecution for prostitution as a juvenile or adult. A law enforcement officer who takes a person younger than age 18 into custody for a suspected violation of this section shall, upon determination that the person is a minor, provide the minor with the telephone number for the Tennessee Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline and release the minor to the custody of a parent or legal guardian or transport the minor to a shelter care facility designated by the juvenile court judge to facilitate the release of the minor to the custody of a parent or legal guardian.

Services and Supports for Victims

Citation: Ann. Code § 71-1-135(b)

The plan developed under § 71-1-135(a) shall include, but not be limited to, provisions to do the following:

  • Assist victims of human trafficking through the provision of information regarding access to benefits and services to which those victims may be entitled
  • Coordinate delivery of services and information concerning health care, mental health care, legal services, housing, job training, education, and victim's compensation funds

Support for Anti-Trafficking Efforts

Citation: Ann. Code § 39-13-312

The proceeds from all forfeitures made pursuant to § 39-11-703(c) shall first be applied to the reasonable expenses of the forfeiture proceeding, including the expenses of the district attorney general and the costs of seizing and maintaining custody of the forfeited property. The clerk of the court where the forfeiture occurs shall transmit 40 percent of the proceeds from all forfeitures as follows:

  • Twenty percent to the law enforcement agency conducting the investigation that resulted in the forfeiture for use in training and equipment for the enforcement of the human trafficking laws
  • Twenty percent to the District Attorneys General Conference for education, expenses, expert services, training, or the enhancement of resources for the prosecution of and asset forfeiture in human trafficking cases

The clerk shall transmit the remainder of the proceeds to the State general fund, where there is established a general fund reserve to be allocated through the general appropriations act, which shall be known as the Anti-Human Trafficking Fund. The fund shall be managed by the treasurer and monies from the fund shall be expended to fund activities authorized by this section.

The general assembly shall appropriate monies from the fund to the Department of Finance and Administration for the department to provide grants to agencies or groups that are incorporated as a not-for-profit organization and that have provided services to victims of human trafficking for at least 6 months prior to the application for funds under this section. The grants shall be for any of the following purposes:

  • Providing direct services to victims of human trafficking
  • Conducting programs for the prevention of human trafficking
  • Conducting education, training, or public outreach programs about human trafficking