Was Georgia Tann Ever Prosecuted? How and When Did She Die?

Trading humans, also known as human trafficking, is one of the obvious cases of illegal trade and for a certain period in the mid-90s, Georgia Tann was involved in the practice of human trafficking which she pulled off under the blanket of her work in Social Services. What punishment did she get for the crime; was Georgia Tann Ever Prosecuted? Find answers to those questions below including details of what she did.

What Is Georgia Tann Most Known For?

Georgia Tann is mostly known for the work she did in Social Services, where she worked as the Memphis branch operator for the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Before Tann started to work at this orphanage, she had worked in a children’s home in Mississippi. While she worked at this orphanage, Tann adopted a child and she started a relationship with another woman who worked there, Ann Atwood was her name.

In 1924, Georgia Tann was asked to leave the orphanage; the reason for her dismissal was the shady methods she employed when it came to placing children with families that wanted kids. After Tann got sacked, she decided to move to Memphis, a city in the state of Tennessee alongside her lesbian partner Atwood.

When the duo got to Memphis, Georgia Tann looked for employment as a social worker and got a job working at another orphanage. In a short while, she was already in charge of the entire Memphis branch of the orphanage. It is believed that she specifically selected this orphanage because it was the one with the most number of branches and also had the largest operations.

Taking control of the children’s home meant that Georgia had access to a large number of kids and could also provide adoptions to people who were willing to pay a certain sum. The law of Tennessee stipulated that any adoption fee paid by prospective adoptive parents is only for the provision of the service and not for the children. Tann found a way to circumvent this decree and between the years 1940 and 1950, she sold more than two thousand children.

What she did might not be technically described as selling children, but Tann with the help of Alma Walton and Regina Warner facilitated the adoption of a large number of children by wealthy families in New York and California. These families paid hefty sums for the children, all of which were checks written to Georgia Tann.

Was Georgia Tann Ever Prosecuted?

The criminal aspect of Georgia Tann’s actions arose when she started to kidnap children, coerce young single mothers to give up their newborn babies, or in the name of the state, seize children that she believed were being neglected.

When Georgia Tann’s action became public knowledge, an investigation was launched and the sale of children for profit was the crime she could only be persecuted for, as the other things she did were only morally wrong.

Georgia Tann never got prosecuted and she never got to serve the time for the crimes she committed.

Read Also: Who Was Robert E Lee, Did He Own Slaves, Who Were His Children? Here Are Facts

How and When Did She Die?

Georgia Tann died on the 15th of September 1950. Her death came three days to the date that the state was going to file charges against her for the laws she had broken. She died of Uterine Cancer and was survived by Ann Atwood.

Before her death, the woman adopted Ann Atwood. This action might seem bizarre but in the period that she lived, it was common for homosexual couples to do so. As far as we can tell, they do so for the benefit of their partners; so that when one of them dies, the living would have access to the wealth left behind. It is said that adopting Ann was one of the ways people got to know that the women were in a relationship.

Tann never got to be prosecuted because she died days before charges were laid against her. The charges would have possibly led to her spending the rest of her life behind bars. Born on the 18th of July in 1891, Georgia Tann was fifty-nine years old when she passed in 1950.


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