This story was produced by New America Media and The San Francisco Public Press.
On the 900-mile trek of mostly desert that stretches between Eritrea and Egypt, hunting for humans has become routine. Eritrean refugees who have fled their homeland fall prey to Bedouin or Egyptian traffickers. The refugees are held for ransom. Those with relatives abroad who can pay for their release might survive. Those who do not are often killed.
Teachers can be the first line of defense against child sex trafficking, according to Maria Velikonja, a former FBI agent who has worked on human trafficking issues for the United Nations. During a two-day conference on sex trafficking at Georgia State University, in Atlanta, Velikonja spoke about the warning signs educators should watch for in their students and what teachers can do to keep their students safe. The conference, Not in Georgia: Combating Human Sex Trafficking, organized by the Georgia Department of Education, was the third part of an ongoing series of lectures on the sex trade. In a lecture titled, “Combating Human Sex Trafficking in Georgia: What Public School Educators Can Do,” Velikonja began by outlining some of the basics of sex trafficking for teachers. “What does a potential sex trafficking victim look like?” she asked the small crowd.
The Internet, like all tools, can be used for good or bad. Human trafficking, a form of modern day slavery that often involves forcing people, including children, to have sex for money, is part of the dark side. It’s well-known that traffickers get online to exploit victims and advertise their services through social media and classified sites. But what if the Internet were used against these traffickers? A year-long investigation into technology and human trafficking showed that online traffickers leave behind a trail, which can be followed by investigators working to combat human trafficking.
The human trafficking bill that toughens the penalty for sex traffickers and seeks to improve outcomes for victims has been officially signed into Georgia law.
A small crowd of supporters gathered around Governor Nathan Deal Tuesday afternoon as he signed HB 200 at My Sister’s House in the Atlanta Mission. The legislation was introduced this year by Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Atlanta) and passed within the same legislative session, which wrapped up last month.
The governor and his wife, First Lady Sandra Deal, shared encouraging words to the families of trafficking survivors during the signing event. Both commended child advocates for remaining vigilant in their work to eradicate child sex trafficking.
Since the Georgia House of Representatives passed the human trafficking bill HB 200, (which includes stronger penalties for the prostituting of children) I asked Kaffie McCullough, founder of JJF’s A Future. Not A Past. (AFNAP) for her thoughts. Kaffie, how does this bill differ from Bill 304 which you worked on a year ago? “It does some of those same things, and it’s a step forward, but it’s not as far as ultimately we’d like to go.
A bill cracking down on human trafficking has passed the Georgia House of Representatives and will now move to the Senate for approval. The legislation, HB 200, increases penalties for those guilty of human trafficking, especially if the victims are less than 16 years old. Further provisions are made for victims who have suffered as a result of forced prostitution.
A State House Committee approved a bill cracking down on human trafficking on Wednesday. The bill, HB 200, now moves to the House Rules Committee where members will decide whether to schedule a vote. The measure places a heavy emphasis on elimination of child prostitution and punishing pimps.
State Senator Renee Unterman of Buford already has the distinction of being the only female Republican in a male-dominated Senate, but she really became a standout during the last legislative session when she introduced a bill that asserted that young prostitutes in Georgia should be deemed victims, not criminals. In fact, she set off a firestorm of controversy with SB304, which declared that boys and girls under the age of 16 shouldn’t be charged with prostitution, but instead diverted to treatment or therapy. Child welfare advocates championed the move as a step in the right direction for sexually exploited young people in Georgia. Opponents, however, accused Unterman, of attempting to “decriminalize” prostitution. The age of sexual consent in Georgia only seemed to complicate the issue further.