Who would have figured the city known for civil rights, progressive thought and boast of having the biggest entertainers in the country is also the human trafficking capitol of the world. A recently released federal study researched 8 major cities including Washington D.C., Miami and Seattle to determine the size of the “underground sex economy.” Atlanta ranks #1 according to News To Me with George Mathis. This evil enterprise expands during large sporting events, conferences and yes……. even amid major church conventions.
Researchers examined a plethora of information and interviewed many “players” in this underground market. Those who consented to the interview were given a $50 gift card! That’s our federal government for you…..but that’s another story.
We have a real-life problem pressing against us in the Atlanta-Metro area. Our kids are being snatched off the street, strip clubs are providing a conduit to human trafficking hubs and teens from broken homes are the most vulnerable.
Law enforcement cannot fight this battle alone and we no longer have the luxury of sitting this one out. No child is immune to the social ills this brings to our immediate community. Many trapped in this industry feel completely controlled by those who exploit them. Refuge and re-education is what they need but seldom receive. Organizations who work against human trafficking are usually severely underfunded and lack the “manpower” needed. We must bring solution to this immediately.
As I continue to research and cover this further, I challenge law enforcement, churches, nonprofits and public officials alike to develop a community coalition and communicate regularly. Let’s create a hardcore plan-of-attack for a hardcore problem. A plan that looks at every dimension of this growing epidemic and utilizes the methodology of both social and legal intervention. With the power of increased awareness, focused law enforcement, social vigilance, media and community working together in an unprecedented way, we can unshackle the chains of this modern day slavery happening in our own backyard.