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Local Antislavery Organization Expands Efforts Across Lower East Tennessee

This article was originally published on chattanoogan.com.

Second Life Chattanooga, a nonprofit focused on ending human sex trafficking, announced Friday the formation of Second Life Tennessee, a rebrand to reflect the expansion of services to include 25 counties in Lower East Tennessee. For the past 10 years, the organization has focused its efforts specifically in greater Chattanooga and Southeast Tennessee. The transition to SLTN was developed to better represent the services and support offered to human sex trafficking survivors across Lower East Tennessee. 

"The expansion has been both evolutionary and intentional,” said Jerry Redman, chief executive officer for Second Life Tennessee. “Although we've always been based in Chattanooga and Southeast Tennessee, as the statewide collaborative model has developed, we've been asked to provide help in more areas. Tennessee is the top state in the country regarding our collaborative approach to fighting trafficking, and this expansion is a natural by-product of that collaborative approach.” 

SLTN’s three areas of mission are prevention, policy and survivor services. As part of the rebrand under the same leadership, SLTN’s services will remain the same, but the expansion will allow the organization to broaden its roster of partners to ensure that survivors receive the help they need. Additionally, areas within Lower East Tennessee that have previously been under-served in the area of trafficking survivor services will now have greater access to needed services. 

"We are very excited to announce this new chapter in the story of our organization,” said Dr. Terry Johns, chairman for the Second Life Tennessee Board of Directors. “I have been privileged to be part of the Second Life board since its inception, and I am very grateful for the partnerships we have, the excellent work of the staff, and most of all, to be part of an organization that is bringing real change to people's lives. We recognize that we are just one piece of a great work going on our state, but we are honored to be part of that work." 

The expansion led to SLTN being tapped as one of the state's four Non-Governmental Organizations that work closely with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Children’s Services within the four grand regions of the state.

SLTN plans to teach communities within the 25-county region how to combat the crime, and both public and private entities will receive resources to ensure their policies are more issue-informed.

“We believe this expansion will allow more survivors to receive the services they need and begin a new, more hopeful chapter of their lives,” said Mr. Redman. “By serving survivors and helping them begin their recovery, each community is made better.” 

The expansion will reach from Polk County in the southeast corner of the region to Franklin County in the southwest corner of the region, and then north from Hamilton County through the Upper Cumberland region to the Kentucky line. SLT will open an office in Cookeville and another office in Bradley County.

To join the fight against human sex trafficking, please visit www.secondlifetn.org or follow Second Life Tennessee on Facebook.