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January Marks End of First Year of TN Human Trafficking Task Force Activities

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Human Services; January 9, 2015:

Task Force continues efforts to combat human trafficking

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The state Human Trafficking Task Force is inviting all Tennesseans to join in the recognition of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Sunday, January 11, 2015.

Human trafficking is the illegal trading of human beings for commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor. It is a multifaceted problem that has no boundaries.

This January marks the end of the first year of activities by the Human Trafficking Task Force, established as required by Public Chapter 464. The Human Trafficking Task Force is comprised of representatives from state agencies, legislators, community leaders, researchers, law enforcement, survivors, and subject matter experts. The task force accomplished much in 2014, including but not limited to: task force member participation in national and international conferences and symposiums focused on human trafficking; consultation with national, state and local experts; and a task force strategic work session.

Tennessee has received much recognition for its efforts. It is only one of very few states to have conducted a statewide study to assess the frequency of human trafficking and developed a plan to address the needs of victims. The state also maintains an “A” rating with Shared Hope International’s Protected Innocence Challenge. This annual report is a comprehensive study of existing state laws whereby every state receives a report card on 41 key legislative components that must be addressed in a state’s laws in order to effectively respond to the crime of domestic minor sex trafficking. .

“We are very excited about the progress Tennessee is making in addressing human trafficking,” said Dr. Raquel Hatter, Tennessee Department of Human Services Commissioner and chair of the Human Trafficking Task Force. “Through solid public-private partnerships, the state has generated momentum that has established Tennessee as a leader in the nation.”

The Human Trafficking Task Force encourages Tennesseans to play a key role in combatting human trafficking by educating themselves and others on its prevalence and learning the warnings signs.

Join the Human Trafficking Task Force and the nation on January 11 by wearing navy blue to show your support in solidarity against human trafficking.

Visit the resources listed below to learn more about human trafficking:

If you suspect an individual may be a victim of human trafficking, contact the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-855-55-TNHTH (1-855-558-6484).

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Press Releases

Haslam Appoints Family, Children Center CEO to Lead Human Services Dept.

Press Release from Governor-elect Bill Haslam; Dec. 21, 2010:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Haslam today announced Dr. Raquel Hatter as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

Devoting her life to social work, Hatter served the last three years as the President and CEO of Family & Children’s Service, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of families, children and individuals.

Hatter worked for 17 years in Flint, Mich. at the Whaley Children’s Center where she held several clinical and administrative roles from front line practitioner to President and CEO of the center.

“Dr. Hatter is a passionate expert in her field, and I’m proud that she’ll join our team in the new administration,” Haslam said. “She’s shown a dedication to families and children throughout her life, and Tennessee will be served well with her as Commissioner of Human Services.”

She currently serves on the Tennessee Council on Children’s Mental Health, Alliance for Children & Families Public Policy Committee, the National Building Bridges Initiative Cultural and Linguistic Competence Committee and American Association of Children’s Residential Centers Board of Directors, among others.

“The state budget and the current economic climate present us with a new normal in which we have to continue to find new ways to ensure efficiency and effectiveness,” Hatter said. “I look forward to working with Gov.-elect Haslam, the administration, DHS staff, community partners and the people of Tennessee in our combined efforts to fulfill the DHS mission.”

Hatter has a Doctorate of Education in Child and Youth Studies from NOVA Southeastern University and a Masters in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University.

Hatter is married to Andre Hatter, and they have a son, Delano, and a daughter, Tiara.

For more information, please visit www.billhaslam.org.