Tennessee Secretary of State office launches Safe at Home campaign

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In time for National Stalking Awareness Month and National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, which are recognized each January, the Secretary of State’s office launched the Protect Your Address. Protect Yourself. campaign promoting their Safe at Home address confidentiality program.
“Protecting your address is a critical step for individuals or families to take to help protect themselves from becoming victims again,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “This free program is available for Tennesseans of any age or gender who’ve been a victim of stalking, human trafficking, domestic abuse or any sexual offense.”
Safe at Home, which launched March 1, 2019, prevents abusers from locating their victims through public records by providing approved applicants a substitute address that may be used for legal purposes, including voter registration and government services such as a driver’s license and access to assistance programs.
Under current Tennessee law, most state and local government records are available for public review. These public records, which include identifying information, make it easy for abusers to track and find their victims.
Participants must complete an application with one of our partner agencies. Safe at Home has partner agencies serving every county in Tennessee. Prospective applicants can find a list of all our partnering agencies with Certified Application Assistants to guide participants through enrollment at SafeAtHomeTN.com.
Find more information about the Safe at Home program, participant eligibility or becoming a partner agency, visit SafeAtHomeTN.com or call 615-253-3043.
Local WRAP (Wo/Men’s Resource and Rape Assistance Program) sexual assault coordinator of Madison, Hardeman and McNairy, Cindi Cotton, expressed how these issues happen everywhere.
“I can tell you that stalking happens everywhere; it is closely tied to domestic violence and is often not reported… As far as human trafficking, again, it happens everywhere,” she said.
In bringing awareness, she wanted to break the myths concerned with them.
• If someone put a zip tie on my windshield wipers does that means I was being targeted for trafficking? Although some persons DO get randomly kidnapped and trafficked, the majority of cases do not begin that way. Traffickers are adept at finding vulnerable persons and then using those vulnerabilities to force the person into being trafficked. “For example, a woman is homeless. A trafficker offers her a meal and a place to stay. He then begins to give her drugs, leading to dependency on him to keep her supplied. Then the trafficker has her right where he wants her and he can begin using her.”
She also added this comment about the money side of human trafficking, “People don’t often think about is how lucrative it is for the trafficker. If a person is selling drugs, it’s a one-time sale. If a person is selling another person, they can sell that person several times a day, seven days a week.”

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