all things social work

Sex trafficking: a hard reality in Atlanta

on December 8, 2011

By Brittany Spornhauer

Published: Monday, November 28, 2011

Updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 15:11


Although Atlanta ranks as one of the foremost sex trafficking hubs in the country, the issue seems to be unknown to many students and residents of the city.

“Fraud, force and coercion.” Sex trafficking can be defined by those three words, according to head of the Innocence Atlanta Campaign, Chris Allen.

Each month approximately 400-500 Georgia children become involved in the sex trafficking trade, according to various advocacy groups.

The issue of sex trafficking has prompted organizations such as Meet Justice and Street Grace to form and take action with the goals of promoting awareness and ultimately aiding in the prevention of trafficking.

Meet Justice has launched a campaign, Innocence Atlanta, in an effort to raise awareness specifically in the Atlanta area about trafficking and child exploitation.

Allen said that victims of sex trafficking are often coerced into believing they will be getting a job with good pay but are then forced to perform sexual acts to stay alive. “333 kids are being sold into prostitution as we speak,” Allen said. He also said that a lot of children sold into prostitution were often runaways who felt their home life was unbearable. 33 percent of runaways are sold into prostitution within 48 hours, according to Allen. Street Grace, another organization dedicated to promoting awareness on the topic of sex trafficking also aides in mobilizing volunteers and connecting groups that wish to help.

Kelly Murray, church membership coordinator for Street Grace, said the organization primarily focuses on awareness in the community and connecting volunteers.

Although the organization does not come in direct contact with victims, the group tries to educate locals in metro Atlanta about the issue. The organization also supports stronger legislation against those caught trafficking women and girls.

“We focus solely on domestic trafficking, which is the sale of U.S. citizens by other U.S. citizens,” Murray said.

However, awareness of the issue appears to be low at Georgia State. When asked, 46 out of 50 students were unaware of the sex trafficking issue in Atlanta.


Atlanta Sex trafficking statistics

 •In Georgia, 12,400 men purchase sex with young women in a given month; more than 27,000 men purchase sex with young women in Georgia more than once per year.

•Approximately 100 adolescent females are sexually exploited each night in Georgia.

•In Georgia, adolescent females controlled by the child sex trafficking trade are sexually exploited by an adult male on an average of three times per night.

•42 percent of men who buy sex either seek out young girls or are willing to disregard all signs that the woman they are about to have sex with is an adolescent.

82.1 percent of victims in sex trafficking incidents were identified as U.S. citizens.

•40.4 percent of all suspected trafficking incidents were child-related and classified as “prostitution or sexual exploitation of a child”.

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