People expect to read about it in magazines or watch a prime-time news show special report – but human trafficking in Nashville? It seems unlikely, says the Tennessean. That’s why many Nashvillians were stunned in November when two people were arrested and charged with the sex trafficking of children. A Nashville resident pleaded guilty to two counts of commercial sex trafficking and admitted luring two Mexican girls to the U.S. by telling them they would be employed at a restaurant in Nashville.
Not everyone was caught by surprise. Amber Beckham and Colette Bercu are two local women aware of the global trafficking epidemic who have been working to raise public awareness. They are helping police spot cases of human trafficking and raising funds to support victims’ shelters in other parts of the world. Beckham says the case has opened a lot of eyes in Nashville. “I think people were very shocked,” she said. “You can read about it. You can research it. But when it happens in your backyard, you say, ‘You know what? They were right. The people who’ve been talking about it, they were right.’ ” The State Department describes human trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery and estimates about 800,000 victims are taken across international borders each year.