New nonprofit aims to help Nashville hotels prevent human trafficking

“She was trafficked by her mother and was often given to her mother’s drug dealer in exchange for drugs. Once, when she was only 12 years old, she was walking down the hallway. hotel in central Florida. She was in pain and she had blood running down her legs, and as she walked past several hotel employees, and no one did anything. didn’t ask her if she was okay, ”said Nicole Whitaker, a human trafficking activist.

Whitaker told the story of a sex trafficking survivor to the public at an Operation Rose event.

Operation Rose is a non-profit organization fighting against human trafficking in the United States. It was founded in January 2021 by Robert Young, who was a Nashville police officer for 11 years.

The organization aims to help victims by training managers and employees of the hotel industry on indicators of trafficking.

Human trafficking has been called the fastest growing criminal industry, with revenues of over $ 150 billion per year according to Operation Rose.

“Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. Women, children and some men are subject to horrific situations and most don’t know how to get help and how to get by, ”said Jason Mayo, President of Operation Rose who was a police officer. of Nashville for 21 years.

Due to Nashville’s high tourism rate and the three major highways that converge into downtown, I-24, 65, and 40, the city is known to be a trafficker’s paradise.

“We could work all day, 40 hours a day, 20 days in a row, doing nothing,” Mayo said.

Hotels and motels are attractive places for human trafficking and, according to the organization, traffickers can choose from more than 50,000 rooms in Nashville.

“The traffickers use our city as a hub. Most of the traffickers, what they do is turn around. They only stay in a city for a very long time, but Nashville is always the city they always come back to.” , said Mayo.

Indicators for victims of human trafficking

  • Under 18
  • Signs of physical abuse
  • Signs of malnutrition
  • Avoid interactions
  • Controlled communication
  • Has an older companion
  • Signs of fear
  • Can travel in a group with an older companion
  • Tagged with tattoo
  • All things in one bag

A man or a woman can play the role of trafficker. Traffickers are known to wear nicer clothes than their victims.

Housekeeping / room service traffic indicators

  • Do not disturb sign on the hotel door
  • Refusal of cleaning
  • Musk smell
  • Multiple computers or phones
  • Odd arrival and departure times
  • Men waiting in the lobby
  • Take extra toiletries without cleaning the room
  • Alcohol or drugs
  • Large boxes of condoms
  • Large sums of money
  • Extend their stay
  • Request rooms located behind hotels
  • Reloadable credit cards

To help prevent human trafficking in the hotel industry, Operation Rose offers a free training workshop to hotels. Visit if you would like to register.