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See what the major news outlets are writing about. Stay up to speed on current events in Atlanta and across the country in the fight against child sex trafficking.
- 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.  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. 
In December of 2011, Out of Darkness launched Atlanta’s first 24/7 rescue hotline.
The hotline serves victims of sex trafficking as well as concerned citizens, family, and friends. 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, inherited from Princess Night (a ministry of Atlanta Dream Center), went live on December 19, 2011 as a non-vanity number: 404-941-6024.
Because many victims call from phones that do not have lettered keypads (like hotel room phones and some payphones) and it may be safer for them to dial an inconspicuous number on a cell phone that lists call records, a non-vanity number was chosen as the best option.
An Out of Darkness representative explained that the organization plans to work alongside agencies like Polaris Project and Seattle Against Slavery to
- track call volume,
- and the locations of phone calls;
- however, rescue takes precedent over information gathering.
Currently, the hotline is in its early stages. Its greatest needs from the community reflect the needs of the entire effort to end trafficking throughout the nation: donations and volunteers.The hotline is connected to four homes, three of which are dedicated to women exiting commercial sexual exploitation. Out of Darkness expects to add three more homes by February.
The faith-based organization hopes to use donations to upgrade its free phone service to a more efficient commercial phone service and increase its office space to accommodate a growing corps of volunteers and interns. Volunteers – particularly male volunteers – from all geographical regions in Georgia are needed to participate in as many rescues as possible.
On January 27 and 28, Out of Darkness will host a volunteer training for those wanting to get involved. To learn more about Out of Darkness and find out how to volunteer, visit their website by clicking HERE.
If you are or know someone who is a victim of forced prostitution, forced labor, or a minor that is being sexually exploited, please call the hotlines listed below:
Out of Darkness Hotline: (404) 941-6024
Human Trafficking Resource Hotline: 1-888-3737-888
Georgia Care Connection: 404-602-0068
Trafficking in Persons Task Force Complaint Line: 888-428-7581
Dear John Human Trafficking Hotline: 404-379-3602
Shared Hope Hotline: 866-HER-LIFE (866-437-5433)
If you are a victim of sexual exploitation, you may seek immediate shelter in a nearby fire station under the Safe S.P.O.T.S initiative. Click HERE to read more about Safe S.P.O.T.S.
New York is the first state to enact a law recognizing pimp-controlled prostitutes of any age as victims of sex trafficking. On Wednesday September 21, 2011, the court expunged the criminal record of 22 year old “Johnson”, who had been targeted by a pimp at the age of 13.
Get the full story here.
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?
Four men hailing from Germany and Ohio have all pled guilty to attempted sex trafficking charges. The men were busted in an undercover sting operation established by Homeland Security Agents that included a fake website and travel plans. Each of the johns paid $1600 to have sex with children they had picked from the fake website. (Fox 8 Cleveland states that no children were actually involved).
The most alarming aspect of the story, aside from the growing trend of the United States of America as a destination for child sex tourism rather than a source:
Federal agents said when they arrested Bichl in Cleveland, he had a laundry list
of items with him, including lingerie, sex toys, bondage ropes, a mask, and some
stuffed purple unicorns for his victim, along with sedatives in case she got
Otto Linzenbach and Peter Bichl of Germany, Zachary Casey of Millersburg, Ohio and Johnathan Waltman of Nashport, Ohio will be formally sentenced in coming months.
Read the full story here.
Source: Fox 8 Cleveland