Ga. officers addressing growing human trafficking problem
Too often, local police treat the “girls as willing prostitutes instead of
victims” when they unknowingly come across human sex trafficking, U.S.
Attorney Sally Yates said.
Next year, the FBI will begin collecting human trafficking statistics from local law enforcement in hopes of shedding light on a criminal operation that counts on the victims’ fear, shame and desperation to keep the enterprises hidden.
“I couldn’t escape,” said Keisha Head, who was forced into the prostitution by now-convicted pimp “Sir” Charles Pipkins. “I didn’t know how to get out. … I always did what it took not to get beaten.”
Head, using her experiences after she found herself with no home at age 12, is talking to victims who come to the advocacy group A Future. Not a Past. And she was recently at the state Capitol, advocating for a pending resolution (House Resolution 1151) to study human trafficking and its victims. It passed the House but needs Senate approval.
It’s a crime that people don’t expect to see in Georgia, said Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford.
People would say they saw the sex slave industry on “ministry trips to Haiti and to Thailand,” Unterman said, “and I would say, ‘Go with me to a bus station in downtown Atlanta.’ … We have studies that show the demand is in the suburbs where you have disposable incomes and access to the Internet and you can order up the 15-year-old blond-haired girl.”
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