Every year, the demand for commercial sex acts spikes around major events, making major sporting events an unfortunate driver of human trafficking in the United States. The Super Bowl is a prime example, and for my fellow Louisvillians, so is the Kentucky Derby.
The Championship game of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is no different. Atlanta is looking at a major spike in trafficking in the week before April 8th, a day that college sports enthusiasts can’t wait for.
While most fans see these events as an opportunity to travel to new cities and to see their favorite teams play (and hopefully win!), pimps see this as a golden opportunity to make money off of their victims, and Atlanta is rapidly becoming a trafficking haven.
The news isn’t all bad, though. There are numerous organizations fighting trafficking on a national level, and on a local level in Atlanta, and their eyes will be wide open for signs of trafficking surrounding this exciting event.
In Atlanta, there is Tapestri, Wellspring Living, and A Future. Not a Past. Campaign.
A Future. Not A Past. And Wellspring Living focus on ending child sex trafficking, and considering children make up a substantial portion of the slave trade overall, this is vital to preventative efforts.
At the national level, campaigns like the SOAP project work to put bars of soap imprinted with the trafficking hotline number in motel rooms to help victims be rescued.
Atlanta and the State of Georgia are also taking steps – a trafficking bill got its final approval on Monday. This bill requires strip clubs, recruitment centers, bus stops, etc. to post how to get help if they are being trafficked, as well as access to the Polaris Project national hotline. The state recently launched an anti-trafficking public awareness campaign titled “Georgia’s not Buying It” that helps educate the public and provides a tip hotline.
Even though this is a recurring problem, awareness is skyrocketing and steps are being taken. Through ongoing advocacy, support of social services, and encouragement of stringent laws, we can all play a role to help end this atrocity for good.
-Emma (guest blogger)
Images provided by Passport, SlideShare, Richmond Justice Initiative