Whenever I think of where human sex trafficking occurs the US is not one of those places. However with recent discussions I decided to do some research into how much trafficking occurs in the US. I was surprised and a little disturbed to find that Atlanta, in recent years, has become the hub for human trafficking within the US. I guess I figured if it had to be anywhere it would be California because it is so close to Mexico. The more I did research into the trafficking the more I became aware with the notion that exporting “sex slaves” is not the main goal but forcing them into prostitution within the US. More specifically within Atlanta it’s the trafficking of youth. Approximately 7000 Georgia men pay pimps to participate in sex acts with these youth and the latest research from the Governor’s office of families and children suggest that in Georgia alone, between 220 and 500 girls are commercially exploited each month.
A nonprofit grassroots campaign called Innocence Atlanta is just one of the many groups that has taken an initiative of raising awareness in the Atlanta community about the realities of sex trafficking and more specifically the exploitation of underage children. Their website states, “Vulnerable individuals are coerced into se slavery in trafficking rings… The harsh truth remains that every two minutes a child is sold as a sex slave.” That idea makes me question why if there is so much of this going on is there not more of a presence in the news and media. Like many Auburn students I grew up in the Atlanta area and never even knew this that this was an issue.
Through more research I stumbled across an article in the AJC about sex trafficking in Atlanta that stated where men were more likely to pay for sex with adolescent females. “The largest concentration –42 % is in the north metro area, outside the Perimeter. 26% come from inside the Perimeter and 23% from the south metro area outside the Perimeter. 9% are from the immediate vicinity of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.” The article also tells of a first hand account from a woman that ran away from home straight into the arms of a pimp at the young age of 12. “It became a vicious cycle. At age 20, I stopped counting how many times I’d been raped. Technically, I should be dead. My throat was cut once by another girl and twice I had a gun pulled at my head but neither one of them fired. Life was crazy.” After reading her testimony it made me so thankful that I was blessed with the life I have and that having to worry about such things has never been an issue. Things like that go on everyday and many of us never think what if that was to happen to us.
Fun Fact: The US spends more in a day combating drug trafficking than it spends on an entire year fighting human trafficking.
Staples, Gracie B. “Groups Battle Sex Trafficking in Atlanta.” Www.ajc.com. Atlanta Journal Constitution, 26 Dec. 2011. Web. <http://www.ajc.com/news/groups-battle-sex-trafficking-1275280.html>.
“INnocence ATLanta- Our Story.” INnocence ATLanta- Our Story | Innocence Atlanta. Meet Justice. Web.<http://www.innocenceatlanta.org/about/our-story/>.