Why One Dress?

Many of the girls who are trafficked only have One Dress.
We are wearing One Dress to remind us each day that wearing only One Dress is reality for these girls.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Press Release: Fighting teen sex trafficking in Georgia

by Allison Neal in the Atlanta Child Safety Examiner on July 12, 2011

Three days ago, a 16-year-old girl (who was a runaway from Tennessee) was found working as a prostitute in a Clayton County motel room. The girl was reportedly a ward of the state when she ran away, probably hoping for a better life in Atlanta. What she got was 30 days of forced prostitution, working for a 26-year-old pimp from Jonesboro. Thankfully, authorities received a tip that saved her. This girl’s story parallels too many others in Georgia, where statistics indicate that approximately 400 teenage girls are sexually exploited every month in our state. Many of these girls are lured via advertisements posted in newspapers and on the internet that promise modeling or acting careers. 

According to a study conducted by Street Grace, an Atlanta-based organization dedicated to eliminating sexual exploitation of minors, approximately 28,000 men pay for sex with a minor female annually in Georgia, and 10,000 of these men purchase sex with a minor multiple times each year. 42% of these men are from the northern suburbs of Atlanta.

There is some good news in this bleak picture. The Georgia General Assembly passed a law yesterday that is one of the toughest sex trafficking laws in the country.  It protects the trafficking victims from being prosecuted, and simultaneously imposes much tougher sentences on both the traffickers and the men paying for sex with the victims. Hopefully this new law will be a step in the right direction.

You may be reading this and assuming that your child could never be trafficked for sex.  You should never assume anything. Teens are impulsive and will sometimes run away because of conflict in your home.  What seems to you to be an innocuous little disagreement may be the catalyst that causes your teen to run away.  Runaways are prime targets for sex traffickers.  Teens are also easily manipulated by predators.  The promise of a modeling career or a chance to act in a movie are both easy ways for a predator to lure your child; and predators are very good at what they do. 

What can you do to prevent it?  According to Street Grace, many “connections” between these men and their victims are made via Craig’s List. Check your child’s internet history and look for any visits to Craig’s List or other such sites where your child could unknowingly answer a dangerous ad.  Talk to your child about the problem and tell her what to watch out for.    Make sure that your child knows you will always love her even if you argue or if you have to impose punishments.  Remind your child that home is a safe place to land, no matter what she may have gotten herself into; and you will always be there to support her and help her.  The sex trafficking pimps will use brainwashing tactics on their victims, telling them that they can’t go home because what they’ve done is unforgiveable, or threatening to harm them or their families.  Your dialogue with your child should include a discussion of these brainwashing techniques and you should verbalize that these are nothing but empty lies.  Finally, get involved.  Visit the Street Grace website and find out more about how you can help stop sex trafficking.

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