Human Trafficking

How one organization is helping victims heal

By Susan Baldani

In the United States, it’s hard for people to grasp that women, men and children, many of whom are U.S. citizens, are still being sold into slavery. Human trafficking happens everywhere, and the people impacted by this heinous crime are often unseen and unheard. Here in Tennessee, there is an organization helping these victims transform themselves into survivors.

Once they are identified by law enforcement, hospitals, mental health co-ops, or addiction services, to name a few, End Slavery Tennessee steps in to provide them first with basic needs such as housing, food, and clothing, and then counseling, addiction services, and educational assistance.

“No two survivors are the same,” says CEO Margie Quin. “Some of the women, and men and boys, have suffered extreme nutritional deprivation and sleep deprivation and they come in with some really significant medical issues, so we address those needs.” Many also need addiction counseling as well as complex trauma counseling.

Margie understands human trafficking in all its manifestations. As a former assistant special agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), she has seen its many horrors in her 26 year career.

“I worked on trafficking for 11 to 12 years and had supervised the first ever statewide trafficking unit with TBI,” she says.

In order to gain a deeper understanding of what trafficking is and how it happens, Margie advises people to listen to its podcast called “Someone Like Me.” There, you can hear survivors speak about their experiences.

Like most non-profit agencies, End Slavery Tennessee is always in need of funding and volunteers. Besides money, people can donate gift cards for Walmart, Target, grocery stores, and other places or choose an item to buy off its Amazon wish list. There are also seven community groups, including those in Brentwood and Franklin, that hold various fundraisers and awareness events.

To find out more and to support its mission, go to www.endslaverytn.org/.  Here, you can donate funds, connect and volunteer with a community group, and learn about other ways to get involved.

Written for Brentwood Lifestyle magazine in Tennessee.

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