COLUMBUS, Ga. – Sex trafficking is a $32 billion dollar a year industry.
According to state leaders – it’s becoming an epidemic in Georgia and they need your help.
Because this problem is not just in Atlanta…
Within 40 hours – 1 out of 3 girls who run away or are homeless are already recruited into the sex trade industry.
State leaders call this an epidemic and say these predators are getting savvy at recruiting.
“For me it started when I was 11 years old. My neighbor crumpled up $20 and put it in my hand.”
Sex trafficking survivor Dorsey Jones is sharing her story to help those some 3700 children being exploited in Georgia every month.
“When I turned 12, I had already slept with half of the community. It wasn’t by choice. It was a need that needed to be met at my house because there were things we needed.”
Georgia State Representative Dee Dawkins-Haigler, a Democrat from Lithonia is involved in trying to create legislation to protect those who are vulnerable to this industry.
“They will drive through neighborhoods just to see who some of the younger pretty girls are – because remember the prime age is 14 to start getting these girls.”
That’s right – 14.
And it’s happening right here in Columbus.
Just a few weeks ago – an undercover officer at the Airport Thruway Walmart found a 21 year old woman in the bathroom who said she was kidnapped from Clayton county.
Law enforcement raided this home on Gleason Avenue.
They say they also found a 16 year old girl during this investigation.
Representative Dawkins-Haigler says the face of this industry is changing and everyone needs to know what’s going on.
That’s why she is pushing for new legislation that would require strip clubs to give one-percent of its earnings to help fight sex trafficking.
It will be on the ballot in November.
“She now looks like me or you you just can’t gage it. It may be a divorced mother who is working and doesn’t realize it now but her child is turning tricks on her lunch break,” Dawkins-Haigler says.
She adds there are three ways most victims become involved – they are forced into it by a boyfriend or friend, they are lured into by wanting nice things, or they are wanting to get out of poverty.
Dorsey changed her life and is now a wife and mom- who wants to spend her life to prevent another story like hers.
“Me being in that close knit family – I realized I didn’t have to put myself in that situation anymore.”
This issue isn’t just for young women – according to Representative Dawkins-Haigler – in Georgia – 33% are young men.
Georgia already has a law that makes it mandatory to post signs in rest areas, certain restaurants, and motels.
On those signs is a number to help those who may victims of sex trafficking.