By Ricky Riley – Clarkston Managing Editor
“Sex Trafficking is a $33 billion industry”, said Wellspring Living Counselor Christine Owens. “Atlanta has been the number one hot spot for sex trafficking for years.” On March 30 , Sec. Patience Shepard and Clarkston SGA hosted Wellspring Living to inform students about the sex industry here in the metro area. Sex trafficking is the process of taking young girls who have been sexually abused, raped, or ran away from home and selling them out to Johns (Men who buy sex).
These girls are as young as 12 years-old. Some of them fail to graduate from high school and others are arrested for being prostitutes even though they are the victims, explained Owens. Older men search and find emotionally distraught girls and use them as they see fit.
“Sex trafficking is not the same as prostitution,” said Owens. “It is forced rape of young girls from the age of 12-14.” With Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport named the country’s busiest airport, Johns travel from
all over the nation to buy sex, said Owens.
These “transactions” are not done face-to-face. The pimps use Craigslist, Facebook and other social networks to sell out young girls, she said. On March 29, “House Bill 200, which the Senate passed 54-0, would increase a prison sentence for trafficking from one year to between 10 and 20 years and impose a fine up to $100,000. If the person trafficked is younger than 18 and coerced, the sentence would jump to 25 to 50 years,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The purpose of Well Spring Living is to provide housing for victims of sex trafficking, help them graduate high school, and adjust to life after the industry.
Even though there are thousands of displaced girls out there, they are only able to serve 28 girls a year. They ask for donations such as cards, school supplies, and clothes to help the girls back on their feet.
For more info on Well Spring living and human trafficking visit wellspringliving.org.