Yesterday, in the name of a cause that knows no party lines, Sen. Renee Unterman (R – Buford) and Sen. Gloria Butler (D – Stone Mountain) hosted sex trafficking awareness advocates to the Senate. The group included representatives from Georgia Cares, Street Grace, the United Way of Greater Atlanta, Out of Darkness, Wellspring Living, and City of Refuge.
From Sen. Unterman:
“It’s great having these groups here today to raise awareness about sex trafficking in the state of Georgia. This is a journey that started in 2008, and the effect these organizations and the General Assembly have had on raising awareness is evident by the more than 700 people who showed up to support sex trafficking victims at the depot this morning. This solidifies our state’s stance of ‘yes, we know we have a problem, but yes, we’re doing something about it’.”
In the same vein, from Senator Butler:
“I am so happy to be able to recognize and host these great organizations that do so much to advocate on behalf of sex trafficking victims. Sex trafficking is a crime that effects all races, genders, socio economic classes and ages. Since 2009, over 1,800 referrals for sex trafficking have been made in 104 counties in Georgia. This isn’t something that just affects the metro Atlanta area, rather this is a severe problem that will require statewide initiatives and help to end.”
According to the joint press release, sex trafficking and the underground sex industry increased by 22 percent in Atlanta from 2003 to 2007.
Former Attorney General Sam Olens joined with Sen. Unterman and Sen. Edward Lindsey in 2011 to advocate for HB 200 which provided for a stronger human trafficking law in Georgia. Sitting Attorney General Chris Carr continues to advocate for raised awareness.