Human sex trafficking is a huge issue in our American society, but we don’t hear about it nearly enough. In a 2016 survey, Atlanta was the second largest city to have sex trafficking calls (per capita) at 317,000 people. I’ve lived right on the border of Atlanta since 2015 and I’ve only started seeing sex trafficking billboards in the past few months. This wasn’t something that happened overnight, this has been growing while most of us weren’t even aware of it.
In 2018 alone, there was 157 human trafficking cases alone and 65 calls from survivors. To make it scarier, there was even a case in the county I live in. There was a 15-year-old girl who had escaped after being forced to have sex with three men prior to calling authorities. She had been forced to have sex every single day for three days in August. Just last month, my county ordered a “court-approved agreement” to the hotel the girl had been at to make changes to avoid losing the property. The county is making some strides in the right direction, but what about our capital?
Atlanta is home to many conventions, whether it be for sports or music or cosplay. It’s a great place to express yourself and find fun activities. Of course, this comes with a price. These huge events are susceptible to sex trafficking since there are so many people that are there and so many that come from out of town. A study from 2014 stated that Atlanta was once the number one spot for sex trafficking and that around 300 young girls are trafficked every single month. Despite this, there was an event recently that had a large number of sex trafficking. You probably guessed it: The Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl 53 was held this month in Atlanta and authorities alerted everyone to stay inside as much as possible because of the sex trafficking. Of course, it was inevitable to stay inside constantly during the hectic few weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. During the 11 days leading up to the Super Bowl, 169 people were arrested for involvement in sex trafficking, where 26 were actual sex traffickers.
While I may be late in the day, today (Feburary 7th, 2019) is Shine A Light On Slavery Day. A movement called End It has been huge in informing the public on the realities of sex trafficking. They use donations to fund projects to end sex trafficking around the globe, so if you can help out please do. There are also other organizations that can be found in Atlanta, such as Out Of Darkness and Tabitha’s House. There are other resources you can learn about of course but here is one example. Stay alert, look out for one another and stay informed.