Eric Watson Invited To White House Meeting On Human Trafficking

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rep. Eric Watson (R-Cleveland), who chaired the House Judiciary Committee in the 107th General Assembly,has been invited to the White House for a session on human trafficking.

He is part of a 25-person contingent meeting with officials. The event takes place on Thursday.

Rep. Watson said he has been a leading voice when it comes to equipping law enforcement with the resources needed to combat human trafficking. For his part in the White House, he "will detail the challenges facing Tennessee as well as how state and local law enforcement agencies have worked together to stop and prevent trafficking cases from occurring."

He said, "Study after study shows the United States is facing an epidemic of human trafficking. States like Tennessee, which serve as the intersection for numerous interstate highways and have multiple regional airports, are targeted by the perpetrators of the crime.

"Human trafficking, which is also referred to as modern day slavery, is defined in federal statutes as 'the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person to perform labor or a commercial sex act through force, fraud, or coercion.'

“Tennessee, in many ways, is a hotspot for this particularly disturbing form of illegal activity—we’ve got to put a stop to that. I’m hopeful this meeting at the White House will serve as a jumping off point for increased cooperation between all levels of law enforcement so we can do just that.”

He said a 2011 report on trafficking in Tennessee by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) found:

* Eighty-five percent of Tennessee counties stated that they have investigated at least one human sex trafficking case over the last 24 months.
* Seventy-two percent of the total counties in the state reported at least one case of minor human sex trafficking.
* There were 16 entities that reported an excess of 50 cases and eight reported over 100 cases of minor cases of human sex trafficking.

Rep. Watson said, "Since that report, the General Assembly passed tough new laws against human trafficking and the TBI has added a training segment on the subject for officers and agents.

“I feel like we are making some real progress, but more has to be done. We’re going to learn about the best practices that are being utilized around the nation at this conference and I intend to bring them back to Tennessee.”



Tennessee National Guard Prepared If Need Arises During Eclipse

From Clarksville to Athens, Tennessee is at the epicenter of next week’s eclipse. With the eclipse comes thousands of visitors, and the Tennessee National Guard is well prepared. Guard Soldiers and Airmen will work with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency to support local and state authorities as needed.  "This is part of the Guard’s dual mission, we not only fight ... (click for more)

Rotary District Governor Speaks At Rotary Club Of Chattanooga Hamilton Place

Rotary District 6780 Governor spoke at the Rotary Club of Chattanooga Hamilton Place this week.  Deborah Alexander-Davis addressed the club, discussed upcoming events, and thanked the club for donating over $399,000 to the Rotary Foundation.  Ms. Alexander-Davis also provided insights and encouragement regarding the Rotary's focus.   Rotary is dedicated to six ... (click for more)

City Seeks To Be Removed As Trustee Of Confederate Cemetery

Mayor Andy Berke on Friday said he has asked City Attorney Wade Hinton, on behalf of the city of Chattanooga, to file the necessary paperwork "to confirm the city is no longer listed as a trustee of a Confederate Cemetery on East Third Street." Mayor Berke said, “Our action today makes it clear that the city of Chattanooga condemns white supremacy in every way, shape and ... (click for more)

Judy Kay Peer, 69, Killed When Train Hits Her Car At Hamill Road Crossing In Hixson

Judy Kay Peer, 69, was killed on Friday night when a train struck her car in Hixson on Friday night. Ms. Peer, a Hixson resident, was driving a 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Police said she  was traveling west on Hamill Road and had stopped at the railroad crossing. The gates were extended with flashing lights and a sounding bell. A train that was traveling northbound on ... (click for more)

Mayor Invites Civil War II - And Response (8)

I just received an email from the Mayor stating that he filed paperwork to remove the city of Chattanooga as the trustee for the Confederate Cemetery on Third Street. I understand the Mayor's intent was to distance the city from it's racist past and subsequent hate, but I feel like this is an interesting move without much thought of the consequences. The Mayor prefaced his ... (click for more)

Confronting Racism In Public Education

Like most Americans, we have been bothered by the news in recent days. And as we have struggled to understand the racial issues that continue to confront our nation, we are left to ponder the issue even more within the context of public education.  The vast majority of Americans know that racism is wrong. It is one of the few issues on which almost everyone can agree. We ... (click for more)