Who We Are
The TASA was formed in 2016, when Grow Free Tennessee (upper East Tennessee), End Slavery Tennessee (Middle Tennessee), and Restore Corps (West Tennessee) received requests from state-level officials to expand their services as well as their service regions so that every county, community, and city in the state of Tennessee would have access to an organization addressing community-specific needs with regard to human trafficking.
Up until this time, each of these three organizations had long been leading counter-trafficking movements in their respective communities doing foundational, grassroots, localized work. Throughout the early 2000s, a coordinated, statewide response to human trafficking did not yet exist; however, as victim identification increased tenfold between 2013 and 2016, the work of these three organizations grew, and along with state government officials and law enforcement agencies at all levels, these organizations began to recognize the challenges and limitations that accompanied mitigating human trafficking independently at the local level.
In understanding these limitations and severe gaps in services for outer counties of Tennessee, research, planning, and many discussions took place over the course of more than a year to chart an appropriate plan of action. Collectively, Tennessee identified that a collaborative, coordinated statewide response would be crucial and necessary to mitigating human trafficking across the state and providing quality aftercare services to survivors from urban, suburban, and rural communities. In order to organize these efforts and spearhead collaboration from a nonprofit perspective, the Tennessee Anti-Slavery Alliance was born.
The change theory of the TASA holds: in order to affect long-term change, it is critical that government and law enforcement agencies, direct services providers, and nonprofits at all levels work together in partnership. The needs of survivors are great, this crime of such magnitude is too complex, and it is only through a collaborative, coordinated response that lasting change regarding human trafficking prevention and the provision of high-quality services can be affected.
The Office of Criminal Justice Programs provided a focused solicitation available only to the three statewide agencies recognized by TBI and DCS as specializing in services to victims of Human Trafficking (End Slavery TN, Restore Corp, and Grow Free CCET).
End Slavery Tennessee
The mission of End Slavery Tennessee is to promote healing of human trafficking survivors and strategically confront slavery in our state.
Chief Executive Officer
Though I see it only in hindsight, a lifetime of experiences prepared me for this work—growing up in gang-infested New York City and Philadelphia neighborhoods, the abuse from my pastor father, leading an afterschool program in a Nashville housing project, and working six years overseas to aid refugees and persecuted people in Eastern Europe. I’ve seen firsthand how vulnerability is a magnet attracting exploiters. When human trafficking first crossed my radar, I could not know and do nothing. I worked on the director level with national and international anti-trafficking agencies and learned a lot, but my heart and passion for the travesty of this crime, “hidden” in my own community, led to the development of End Slavery Tennessee. I firmly believe in the efficacy of regional work that stays small, develops networks of collaboration and communication, addresses state systems that allow this travesty to flourish and that gives enough time to each survivor to truly heal.
The mission of Restore Corps is to eradicate human trafficking by empowering survivors, equipping communities and changing systems.
Rachel Sumner Haaga is a Memphis native. She began working with at trafficking victims while living in SE Asia 2008-2010. She returned to Memphis, aware that human trafficking happens on a global scale, but uncertain of the prevalence and and available services in Tennessee. Be December 2010, she was volunteering in a leadership role with a local organization identifying gaps in services and partnerships within the Memphis community interested in serving this population. Eventually, Restore Corps was founded in January 2013. Since December 2014, Restore Corps has intervened, offering services to over 250 people involved in the commercial sex industry. We are grateful to work alongside the TASA partners to serve Tennessee and the individuals caught in the supply/demand cycles of commercial sex.
Grow Free Tennessee
Kate Trudell joined The Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking and their initiative Grow Free Tennessee, which provides direct services to survivors of human trafficking, in 2014 as the Executive Director. Trudell has devoted her career to human trafficking, domestic violence and other women’s rights issues. Prior to her role with CCAHT, she served as the Director of Individual Giving for the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Trudell is involved with numerous community initiatives including The Women’s Fund of East Tennessee Advocacy Committee, the Knoxville Anti-Trafficking Task Force, and the DCS East Region Human Trafficking Working Group.