ANSWER: Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, involving the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It can occur in any community- rural, suburban or urban - and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Nationally, it is the second largest criminal enterprise in the U.S., based on information from the U.S. Department of Justice. To support a comprehensive, statewide effort to combat human trafficking, the State of Georgia has introduced Human Trafficking Awareness Training to Executive Branch employees, with the goals of reducing the number of victims and significantly impacting this growing enterprise and threat to Georgia citizens.
QUESTION: How widespread is child sex trafficking in Georgia?
ANSWER: Because child sex trafficking is an underground or hidden crime, it is difficult to quantify or track the number of suspected cases across the state or within the U.S. However, studies by the Urban Institute and other organizations, along with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data, offer a glimpse into the child sexual exploitation crisis in metro Atlanta and Georgia. Consider the following data:
The average age of trafficking victims is 12-14 years old (Smith, Vardaman, Snow).
From July 2017 to March 2018, Georgia Cares, the nonprofit connecting victims and survivors to critical services, received 1,897 calls to the Statewide 24/7 hotline for domestic minor sex trafficking.
More than 91% of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) victims in Georgia were enrolled in school at the time of their exploitation (Georgia Cares).
Approximately 374 girls are commercially sexually exploited every month in Georgia. (Georgia Cares).
QUESTION: Why are State employees being asked to participate in Human Trafficking Awareness Training?
ANSWER: State employees are public servants who work in every corner of Georgia, oftentimes engaging and interacting with people in the communities they serve. In many instances, State employees are uniquely positioned to observe or witness cases of suspected sexual exploitation. With awareness training, these employees become better informed about how to identify signs of human trafficking; how to properly respond in cases where they suspect someone is a victim and how to protect children and other potential victims from this horrific crime.
QUESTION: How long is the Human Trafficking Awareness Training course? How is it available?
ANSWER: The Human Trafficking Awareness Training takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. It is an online training course available through Team Georgia Learning, the Department of Administrative Services (DOAS) Learning Management System (LMS) and through your Human Resources Department for agencies not using the DOAS LMS. State employees are encouraged to take the course during the workday. The training is also available to the general public via a YouTube video on the http://doas.ga.gov/ website.
QUESTION: Is the State taking other measures to combat child sex trafficking in Georgia?
ANSWER: Yes, Governor Brian P. Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp have made combatting child sex trafficking a priority for the State of Georgia.
To underscore the State's commitment, Governor Kemp announced the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion, and Education (GRACE) Commission, a task force created by executive order on February 26, 2019. The Commission, co-chaired by the First Lady, Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones and Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds, is comprised of public officials, non-profits organizations, healthcare professionals, law enforcement officials and others - all dedicated to ending the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children as a criminal enterprise in every county in Georgia. Go herefor more on the GRACE Commission.
Additionally, for the first time in the State's history, Governor Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly approved funding in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget to create a Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit under the State Attorney General's Office. The unit's chief mission is to aggressively and effectively prosecute cases of sexual exploitation and other forms of human trafficking in Georgia.
In addition to the work of the GRACE Commission and the State Attorney General's Office, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), the Department of Juvenile Justice and other state agencies, federal agencies, non-profits and private sector businesses have launched ambitious efforts to educate employees and fight human trafficking in metro Atlanta and other parts of Georgia.
QUESTION: What should I do if I suspect a potential human trafficking situation?
ANSWER: If there appears to be imminent or immediate danger to the victim, call 911 or your local police. If it is not an emergency situation, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888. The national toll-free hotline is available to answer calls from anywhere in the U.S, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. All reports are confidential, and interpreters are available. You also may text help to 233733 to connect to services for victims.
QUESTION: Am I required to report suspected cases of human trafficking?
ANSWER: While there is no "requirement" to report suspected cases of child sexual exploitation or trafficking to authorities, State employees are strongly encouraged to help protect children and others from this growing criminal enterprise that threatens communities throughout Georgia. Additionally, notifying authorities can save the lives of victims and can lead to survivors receiving specialized trauma care, mental health and other services, once the crime is discovered. All State employees are urged to use the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888) or call local law enforcement in cases where they suspect someone is being sexually exploited. If you see something, say something.