TN laws take tough stand against sex trafficking - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

TN laws take tough stand against sex trafficking

(WMC-TV) - New laws that just took effect put Tennessee in the top 10 of states taking a tougher stand against sex trafficking.

The executive director of Restore Corps in Memphis is applauding the new legislation. Rachael Sumner's organization assists sex trafficking victims.

"Researchers say that girls end up getting into this about 12 to 14 years old," said Sumner.

Sumner's organization, Restore Corps, worked with Germantown Senator Brian Kelsey and Bartlett Representative Jim Coley to write the new laws aimed at fighting the sex trafficking industry.

"Absolutely, it gives investigators, as well as the attorneys, stronger teeth to be able to prosecute," said Sumner. "It gives them more bang for the buck as they say."

Sumner says sex trafficking is a growing problem in our area. A two-year study reveals that Shelby County is one of four Tennessee counties with more than 100 documented cases of sex trafficking of minors.

Sumner says one of the biggest ways to discourage sex trafficking is by creating a greater risk for the pimps and the buyers of commercial sex.

That's why these new sex trafficking laws just went into effect:

  • Stop pimps from using consent as a defense
  • Increase the number of years offenders can serve in prison
  • Extend the statute of limitations for reporting trafficking
  • Increase penalties for customers of sex traffickers

"Now they can be charged with sex trafficking and get that federal statue of minimum penalty of 10 years," explained Sumner.

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