A new report shows human sex trafficking is a problem found in rural areas of Tennessee as well as urban.
Wednesday the TBI released a study on the geography of human trafficking in Tennessee. Researchers found sex trafficking cases were reported more often by social service workers than by law enforcement.
Knox County is among four counties that reported more than 100 sex trafficking cases involving minors.
Roane County reported between 26 and 100, and Sevier County reported between 16 and 25 cases.
TBI researchers say children who live in poverty may be particularly at risk.
"Because of the increased awareness, the increased collaboration between non-governmental organizations, law enforcement, and government organizations we're just finding more victims. We're able to rescue more. So unfortunately the numbers are not going to go down. They're going to increase before they start going down," said Christi Wigle, former executive director for Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
Twelve new laws went into effect last July which target human trafficking.
If you suspect signs of human trafficking, call the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline at 855-558-6484.
For more information, you can visit one of the following websites that work with human trafficking survivors across the state:
Second Life Chattanooga (http://secondlifechattanooga.org/)
End Slavery TN (http://www.endslaverytn.org/)