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TBI: Calls to human trafficking hotline went up in 2020

Officials said that the hotline got around 170 more calls compared to 2019. At least 161 of them were from East Tennessee.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said that it saw more people calling its human trafficking hotline in 2020.

They said that the number of calls went up by around 170 calls, compared to 2019. They also said that 161 of those calls were from East Tennessee. Officials said that human trafficking is considered the second-fastest growing criminal industry, behind drug trafficking.

The hotline is meant to prevent human trafficking from happening and to help victims of it. Anyone who suspects someone may be a victim of human trafficking can call the hotline at 1-855-55-TNHTH.

There are several warning signs people can look out for to identify if someone is a victim of human trafficking. Experts said victims may be unusually fearful or anxious, and some abusers may excessively monitor them. Some may also try to control victims' behavior.

One tangible sign someone may be in a human trafficking situation is if they are not in control of their own money or documents, officials said. Abusers can hold onto them in order to exert more control of their victims' lives.

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