Category Archives: Editorials

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]

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Out of Darkness inherits hotline, aids rescue effort in Atlanta

In December of 2011, Out of Darkness launched Atlanta’s first 24/7 rescue hotline. Trained volunteers take calls from and rescue women and girls who are seeking an escape from commercially exploitative circumstances. After retrieving a victim, Out of Darkness then coordinates with other organizations like Wellspring Living and Solomon House, which provide residential and non-residential rehabilitative treatment to victims of sex trafficking. The hotline serves victims of sex trafficking as well as concerned citizens, family, and friends.

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A Brief Summary of the 2011 TVPRA

Article originally published on Innocence Atlanta on September 16, 2011.

If you were unaware of the flurry of activity regarding National Call-In Day on September 8th, you might also have missed the point behind it: to encourage legislators to pass the 2011 version of the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act, or TVPRA, which is set to expire on September 30, 2011. However, even if you missed National Call-In day, it’s not too late to call your senators and encourage them to pass the bill. International Justice Mission makes activism easy by offering an idiot-proof guide to calling senators about the TVPRA.

Jesse Eaves, Policy Advisor for World Vision’s Children in Crisis program, stresses the extreme importance of the bill to anti-trafficking efforts:

“The Trafficking Victims Protection Act is hugely influential in giving other countries the support they need to step up their fight against trafficking…It is the best diplomatic tool we have, and if it is not renewed, the United States’ fight against trafficking will end on October 1.” (Health News)

So what’s so important about this bill, anyway?

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“From Survivors to Thrivers”: Restoring the Identities of CSEC victims

Originally posted on Innocence Atlanta on September 8, 2011. 

“Survival is your strength, not your shame.”
T.S. Elliott

Recently I saw a TV episode during which a man seeking fame and fortune irreversibly transforms his young daughter into a monster as a scientific experiment. Two passersby in the lives of the man and his daughter are seized with guilt, anger, and depression at the realization that there is nothing they can do to change the girl back into what she once was.

It’s doesn’t take a creative leap to draw a comparison between the story of the fictional girl and the story of a real youth whose future, dignity and hope is snatched away and exchanged for a life of shame and abuse. The average age that a young girl is initially commercially and/or sexually exploited by a pimp or john is between 12 and 14 years old. For boys and transgender youth, that age drops to between 11 and 13.

However: there’s also a significant difference between the two narratives.

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Children aren’t Cheap: The cost of CSEC

Originally posted on August 25, 2011.div>

Photo Credit: www.blogs.glnd.k12.va.us

Child Labor in the United States does not readily come to mind when one brings up human rights or social injustice issues. After the Fair Labor Standards Acts was passed in 1938, largely due to groups like The National Child Labor Committee, institutionally endorsed use of children for labor in the US was virtually wiped out. Globally, child labor is still an enormous issue. 8.4 million children are involved in work that the ILO Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention defines as unacceptable for children. This includes the trafficking of children for debt bondage, forced labor, armed conflict, and the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). In the United States, roughly 199,000 incidents of CSEC take place each year according to a study released by Estes & Weiner in 2001. (CLEP)

Children have historically been used as laborers for a few reasons, including their increased accessibility into smaller spaces (like broken down machines) and the ease of which it is to abuse them without risking organized resistance. However, the number one reason for using children is that employers have routinely considered them to be cheaper labor than adults. Because of their age, they have been considered to be cost-effective.

This view is still prevalent among perpetrators of CSEC today, only on a more disturbing level.

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Society & Sex Trafficking

Originally posted on MeetJustice.org on August 12, 2011.

Sex Trafficking is society’s problem. We all bear the burden of exploitation. We pay for the medical services that victims receive, if they’re lucky, after brutal violence leaves them in need of urgent care. Children who are the product of commercial rape or rape by pimps are often repeatedly cycled through foster systems. Traffickers are left untouched by the law while their stable of victims, many of them underage, are shuffled through the court system, sometimes multiple times, with the state footing the bill for their booking, holding, and legal fees.

Not only is trafficking our burden – it’s our great shame. Commercial Sexual Exploitation is one of many proverbial elephants in the room in the U.S – and it’s getting more and more difficult to ignore how entangled it is with our own society’s norms.

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What Human Trafficking is Not

Originally published on MeetJustice.org on August 4, 2011.

The discussion around human trafficking is all tangled up – it’s messy, muddled, and sometimes confusing. Terms are intermingled and exchanged for one another. Why? It’s a broad issue that encompasses many different factors. Lead Researcher of the Georgia Demand Study Dr. Alex Trouteaud commented that human trafficking is like “…a whole grocery store worth of items, and they aren’t even in the same department.” For a basic run down of human trafficking, check out Robyn Dooley’s blog, “Human Trafficking- what is it and does it exist?” This blog will not be defining what human trafficking is- instead, it will be defining what it’s not.

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