Georgia governor-elect, attorney general and nonprofit Street Grace participate in stunt to raise awareness for sex trafficking in advance of the big game
More than 3,600 children are sold into sex slavery every year in Georgia – enough to fill 72 school buses. To shine a light on this issue, this morning Atlanta-based nonprofit Street Grace wrapped 72 school buses in anti-human trafficking messaging and sent them through Atlanta near Mercedes-Benz Stadium, creating a mile-long moving billboard. The goal: change the conversation from "traffic" to "traffick."
At the start of the route, speakers including the Georgia governor-elect, attorney general and a human trafficking survivor discussed the issue and what everyday citizens can do to help.
"Every day in Atlanta, people talk about our traffic problem. Today, we urge you to talk about our more serious 'traffick' problem," said Bob Rodgers, president and CEO of Street Grace. "Child sex trafficking is an industry that thrives in darkness. Our goal is to develop a network that will continually shine a light on this issue and put an end to the abuse."
Every month, about 7,200 men purchase sex with an adolescent woman in Georgia, according to a study by the Shapiro Group. Among men who purchase sex with a young woman, 65 percent do so in and around suburban metro Atlanta, and 9 percent do so around the airport.
"Georgia has a world-class logistics network, which has made our state a global leader in business and commerce. Sadly, criminals are utilizing this same infrastructure for illicit and evil purposes," said Governor-elect Brian Kemp. "We encourage all Georgians to learn the warning signs for human trafficking and the appropriate ways to report suspicious activity to law enforcement."
As national attention focuses on Atlanta in advance of the big game in February, public officials and civic and business leaders have been ratcheting up attention on this issue. The state recently enacted stronger laws to build cases against traffickers and buyers.
"Our office is focused on bringing an end to domestic minor sex trafficking in Georgia and around the country by eliminating the root of the problem – demand," said Attorney General Chris Carr. "Our efforts include working with local law enforcement and district attorneys on investigations, prosecutions, and trainings and raising the visibility of the issue. We will remain committed to preventing any child from ending up in such a horrific nightmare and to rescuing those who may already be involved."
To help maintain the spotlight and reduce the frequency of incidents, Street Grace encourages citizen to join Traffick Watch, a group of Georgians who have pledged to look for signs of human trafficking in the places where they work and live. To learn more about Traffick Watch and sign up, visit www.StopTraffick.com, which also has information about the issue, access to training materials and links to additional resources.
Street Grace also invites everyone to engage in the social conversation using the hashtag #StopTraffick and share the news with friends. If you are a victim, or know someone who is, call the National Trafficking Hotline at +1 (888) 373-7888.
This event was made possible through the partnership of Street Grace, the Georgia Attorney General's office, Georgia Governor-elect Brian Kemp, Georgia Representative Chuck Efstration, Atlantic Station, Gwinnett County Public Schools, the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Atlanta Police Department, the Georgia State Patrol, BBDO, Porter Novelli, Bark Bark.