Administrative Office of the Courts Director Deborah Taylor Tate has been named the recipient of End Slavery Tennessee's 2018 Human Trafficking Impact Award. Tate, who is a Murfreesboro, TN native, was presented the award in recognition of her many contributions over the years to the prevention and confrontation of human trafficking in Tennessee. Those contributions include her work with the AOC as well as with numerous other organizations, such as the Human Trafficking Advisory Council and the Tennessee Domestic Violence State Coordinating Council.
A long-time advocate of children's rights, Director Tate coordinated the state Juvenile Justice Commission and has represented families and youth in juvenile court as a guardian ad litem. She currently serves as the co-chair of the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators National Judicial Opioid Task Force as well as the Juvenile Justice Task Force. Tate was twice nominated by President George W. Bush and unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate as an FCC Commissioner and was the first Special Envoy for Children at the International Telecommunications Union in Geneva.
The AOC has made the fight against human trafficking a priority. All state judges receive training that allows them not only to identify potential victims of human trafficking, but also to direct those victims to needed resources that can help them deal with the aftermath of their experiences. Human trafficking training is provided to other state judicial employees, including clerks and juvenile court staff, as well. The AOC has also partnered with organizations like the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, the Hannah Project Nashville, Polaris, Second Life Chattanooga, and the Magdalene House to combat human trafficking and its effects.
End Slavery Tennessee is an organization founded by Derri Smith in 2008 whose mission is to "promote healing of human trafficking survivors and strategically confront slavery in our state." The organization fulfills this mission by adopting a four-part approach to the problem of trafficking that consists of training, aftercare, advocacy, and prevention. In 2017, End Slavery Tennessee trained over 11,000 professionals and community members to be able to recognize the signs of human trafficking. In that same year, it provided care for over 200 human trafficking survivors. In part due to the work and advocacy of End Slavery Tennessee, Tennessee was recently ranked the top state in the country in terms of the strength of its anti-trafficking laws.
Past recipients of the Human Trafficking Impact Award include State Senator Bill Ketron and Assistant District Attorney Tammy Meade.