Nonprofit training on how to identify trafficking victims ahead of Bonnaroo

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – From tattoos to branding on certain parts of a victim’s body, a local nonprofit says those are a few red flags of sex trafficking. 

“Neck, chest, back,” said Gabrielle Thompson. “We’ve also seen it on genitals. We’ve seen it on arms.” 

She says physical abuse is another classic sign. 

“You might see bite marks,” Thompson said. “You might see burns. You might see very peculiar types of bruisings.”  

Thompson is executive director of Free for Life International, a nonprofit which helps victims of sex trafficking.  

She’s training 2,000 volunteers how to spot the red flags of sex trafficking at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival next week.  

She says big events often cause an uptick in trafficking.  

“There are individuals that are looking to buy sex at these large events,” Thompson said.   

In April, a woman was arrested and three juveniles were recovered during a sex-trafficking sting NFL Draft weekend. 

“They will come specifically into the city or into the location of a large event to traffic girls at that event,” she said.  

The training will last for three days.  

Volunteers will get cards with information and phone numbers where victims can get help. 

“What we’re doing is we’re bringing it to the light,” Thompson said.  
She says the training is part of the nonprofit’s new program called “Saving a Life During Large Events.” 

“Sporting events, music events, any type of large event,” she said.  
Thompson says many of the survivors she works with were trafficked in plain sight during big events. 

“One specific survivor, she had been trafficked at the Master’s and at the Kentucky Derby,” she said.  

It’s a crime she hopes her training will help stop, one event at a time. 

“Anyone that understands the signs can truly save a life,” Thompson said. 

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