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Human Trafficking Hotline Analysis: Insights from the State of Tennessee

NCJ Number
Victims and Offenders Volume: Online Dated: May 2024
Ben Stickle; Popy Begum; Carter F. Smith
Date Published
May 2024

In this article, researchers assess the value of human trafficking hotlines based on a study of data from the Tennessee Statewide Human Trafficking Hotline.


The findings of this study provide insight into the landscape of human trafficking in Tennessee and can inform policy development and enhanced responses by law enforcement and service providers to human trafficking. This exploratory study underscores the value of human trafficking hotlines as an important data source for understanding and responding to trafficking at the micro level. Drawing on data from the Tennessee Statewide Human Trafficking Hotline between 2017 and 2021, 2,316 tips were analyzed and revealed a 219% tip increase over five years, with minimal impact noted due to COVID-19. The most common trafficking tips relate to minors (57%), adult sex trafficking (21%), and labor trafficking (4%). Women and minor victims were overrepresented in tips, and only 3% of victims self-reported to the hotline. Tips were concentrated in counties with larger populations; however, tips also indicated human trafficking presence in rural areas. Multiple victims and trafficking suspects were described in 11.5% of cases, and as the number of victims increased, so did the number of suspected traffickers. When suspects operated together, there tended to be one male and one female in the reported trafficking operations. (Published Abstract Provided)