Lobby Day 2012

Georgia Capitol dome

On most days of the year, the Georgia capitol building is swarming with activity. On February 1st, however, there is a sense of urgency and purpose not often seen among the usual visitors to the political center of the city. Community leaders, activists, students, and others are there to remind their legislators that throughout the state of Georgia, minors of both sexes are sexually exploited. Approximately 7200 Georgia men pay pimps to participate in sex acts with these youth, who are coerced and manipulated into performing. [1] In 2005, Atlanta was named by the FBI as among fourteen U.S. cities with the highest incidences of sex trafficking,and the latest research from the Governor’s office of families and children suggests that in Georgia alone, between 220 and 500 girls are commercially exploited each month. [2]

Amy Walters of Street Grace describes the the goal of Lobby Day  as having always been a “…grassroots mobilization of the community to express our voices on behalf of those that do not have a voice.”  Volunteers on behalf of Street G.R.A.C.E, Wellspring Living, and A future not a past have been consistently peaceful, polite, and persistent over the years. Last year, lobbyists visited the offices of their representatives and senators, leaving behind a symbolic white rose and a note to remind them that hundreds of victims suffer the consequences of being commercially exploited every month. In years past, volunteers have either informed their legislators of the reality that Atlanta is a center of sex trafficking, both of U.S. citizens and of people trafficked into the country, or asked them to support bills like S.B 304 and S.B 69. This year, volunteers will thank their legislators for working hard to protect Atlanta’s children from victimization.

A future not A Past representatives expect between 600 and 1,000 Georgians to participate in Lobby day.  They will join Attorney General Sam Olens, Senator Renee Unterman, Representative Edward Lindsey, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, all of whom are scheduled to speak on behalf of CSEC victims in Georgia.  Atlanta musician Janie Chu will perform her single “Dear John”, as well as other songs from her sophomore release, on the capitol steps before Lobby Day begins.

“This is probably the easiest way to make a difference,” Walters explains. “Showing up really matters and this is your chance to be a voice for those who don’t have a voice.  We have people coming from all over the state…Let’s pack out the north steps of the capitol.”

Click here to register for LOBBY DAY 2012.


[1] Georgia Demand Study, 2009. The Shapiro Group. http://bit.ly/xejRol
 [2] Georgia Governor’s Office.  http://1.usa.gov/op1S7d

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