New bill aims to protect sex trafficking, abuse victims in Tennessee

WATCH: Tennessee bill aims to protect sex abuse victims

A new House and Senate bill introduced in the legislature was inspired after Gov. Bill Haslam granted clemency for Cyntoia Brown.

The bill would protect minors who are victims of sex trafficking or sexual abuse who use force to protect themselves.

Sen. Sandra Gilmore said Senate Bill 24 and House Bill 17 would establish a presumption that a minor who is a victim of a sex crime can use force to defend themselves.

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Gilmore said she wanted to advocate for victims of sex trafficking and abuse after Brown’s case.

Brown was granted clemency by Haslam on Monday after she was originally sentenced to life in prison for killing a man in 2004.

Advocates said she was a victim of sex trafficking when she killed the man who purchased her for sex.

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Sandy Bromley is the director of the Shelby County Crime Victims Center. She shared her insight about how victims of sexual abuse react.

“Often times their reactions are fight, fight back, or flight, run away or freeze which is play dead or sort of a feeling of numbing so that is our typical reactions when facing with trauma,” said Bromley.

Gilmore said the bills are similar to the castle law which gives homeowners the right to protect their property with deadly force if they feel like they are in danger.

“One of the options is fight so when somebody might be in that mode again they are not in their thinking brain at all and they are reacting to save their lives in whatever way possible,” said Bromley.

Bromley emphasized that teens and young children are more likely to be victimized by sexual predators.

Gilmore hopes the bills protects other victims who might find themselves in a similar situation as Brown.

The bill is currently in the legislature. If passed, it would be implemented in July.