Demand an End Georgia
Street Grace, in conjunction with the Georgia Attorney General’s Office and the GBI, has created the Demand an End Georgia Initiative. This initiative gives cities and municipalities the tools necessary to begin addressing and combatting demand locally. Because child sex trafficking is composed of networks that cross city and county lines, Demand an End Georgia focuses on education and awareness within cities, and municipalities, creating a united force to stop the growth and proliferation of sex trafficking across the state.
The goal for this initiative is to create a statewide, inclusive campaign under a single brand that will ensure that all city personnel are trained to recognize and report suspected cases of sex trafficking, and all law enforcement officers are best equipped to arrest and aggressively prosecute purchasers and traffickers. By committing to becoming a Demand an End City, you are agreeing to having GBI train all city law enforcement on DMST and handling DMST cases, as well as having Street Grace provide general DMST awareness training to city employees and officials.
Together we can bring an end to child sex trafficking in Georgia by addressing the root of the problem: DEMAND. The underground commercial sex economy (UCSE), is the second largest black market in the U.S.; recently surpassing the illegal gun trade and second only to the drug market. Although currently behind the drug trade, research has suggested that many traffickers are switching from drugs to sex. Traffickers are attracted to the commercial sex economy by its relatively low risk and the ability to “recycle” children for greater profit. Research estimates that as many as 300,000 American children are at risk of being victimized by sex trafficking, entering “the life” at an average age of 12 – 14 years old (Shared Hope International). In Atlanta, alone, the underground commercial sex economy is estimated to be worth approximately $290 million a year, with traffickers making an average of $33,000 per week (Urban Institute). This activity is not isolated to any specific geographical location, nor does it target certain races or socioeconomic classes. Sex trafficking has existed in the state of Georgia for generations and it is time to take necessary steps that protect children from traffickers who sell and exploit them and the men who purchase sex illegally.
As is the case with any business, child sex trafficking operates on the economic principle of supply and demand. In this case, however, the supply is comprised of children who are frequently abused and exploited at a very young age, and the demand is comprised of the individuals who are seeking to buy children for sex. We have an obligation to protect the most vulnerable in our society from the powerful and abusive.
To date, responses to child sex trafficking have been focused almost exclusively on the supply side of the equation – providing crucial rescue and rehabilitation services to survivors of child sex trafficking after they have been exploited. These services are greatly needed, however, this approach only addresses half of the equation and does not target the source that perpetrates the industry: Demand. Every month in Georgia, 354 minors are sold for sex to 7,200 men (Schapiro Group). Including repeat purchases, these men pay for an estimated 8,770 sex acts per month (Schapiro Group). As a result, each child is exploited multiply times per month and even per day. This evil industry will continue to victimize and exploit children, as long as there is such a high demand for it.
To end the demand, we must focus on protecting children before they are exploited, raising awareness that this is really happening in our neighborhoods and cities, as well as arresting and aggressively prosecuting the traffickers and purchasers.
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