It was 2007 when Margie Quin first began to do work to end human trafficking.
As an assistant special agent in charge at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Quin served as the missing children’s clearinghouse manager and the AMBER Alert coordinator for the state.
“That’s when I learned of Tennessee’s trafficked youth,” said Quin, Chief Executive Officer of End Slavery Tennessee. “By 2010, the TBI had engaged with Vanderbilt to conduct comprehensive research to quantify and qualify trafficking in the state.”
That study, entitled Tennessee Human Sex Trafficking and Its Impact on Children and Youth, reported in 2011 that an estimated 27 million people are enslaved today, and there are 800,000 people trafficked across borders annually.
The research reported that in 2010, the TBI indicted 29 individuals for trafficking girls as young as 12 across the U.S., including in Tennessee, and in July of the same year, an East Tennessee man was arrested for having trafficked over 400 women.
“Through my work with the TBI, I was inspired to do something more, and working with End Slavery Tennessee is just that — something more,” Quin said.
End Slavery Tennessee is a nonprofit that is focused on providing spaces for healing for those who have experienced human trafficking as well as working toward the eradication of modern-day slavery in Tennessee.
Modern-day slavery is defined as the trade of humans for purposes such as sex slavery and forced labor.
“Modern day slaves are forced into labor, service or sex slavery to make money for their exploiters. The same people who traffic drugs and weapons realize that selling people is more profitable and less risky — but people can be sold repeatedly. In the case of a sex slave, that might be 10, 20 or more times a day,” according to the organization’s website.
Quin said it is the mission of End Slavery Tennessee to provide training and aftercare, as well as to work in advocacy and prevention.
“The work is tough — survivors have experienced so much complex trauma, and it takes time and specialized care for them to heal. We offer that space for a survivor to begin the healing process without the worry of housing, treatment or safe living,” Quin said.
And in order to provide those healing spaces, Quin said the community is needed — whether that be in an official volunteer capacity or just being aware of the red flags to look out for when it comes to trafficking, like signs of abuse, an unexplained and sudden increase in money or possessions or not having a stable home or school life.
“Our organization would not be what it is today if we didn’t have volunteers. We have seven community groups in the area, from Spring Hill to Clarksville, and anyone interested can join to take direct action. The groups meet about once a month to work on things like fundraisers and public education,” Quin said.
For more information and a complete list of red flags to look out for, visit endslaverytn.org.
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